Helping More Ontarians Quit Smoking

Toronto, January 19, 2011 – Ontario is taking action to address the rising costs of tobacco-related disease on the province’s health care system by expanding services that help smokers quit.

Beginning in Spring 2011, participating Family Health Teams will provide access to over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as nicotine patches and gum, combined with counselling, at no cost to the smoker. These services are also already available in many Public Health Units, Community Health Centres, Aboriginal Health Access Centres, pharmacies and hospitals.

Expanding these services to Family Health Teams will give 20,000 more Ontarians the tools to quit smoking over the next two years, and help the province reduce the $1.93 billion in tobacco-related health care costs.

Family Health Teams will work in partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to:

    * Identify, advise and assist current smokers within Family Health Teams
    * Offer NRT treatment and expert smoking cessation counselling
    * Follow-up with participants to prevent relapses
    * Offer additional counselling and follow-up support through the Smokers’ Helpline and online services


“Smoking is an addiction, not a lifestyle choice, and we know it is one of the hardest addictions to break. That is why the Ontario government is taking action to help Ontarians quit smoking by providing support and resources. Together with CAMH, Family Health Teams, and our network of partners in the fight against tobacco addiction, we are committed to supporting more Ontarians who want to quit smoking.”
– Margarett Best, Minister of Health Promotion and Sport   

“Evidence shows that NRT combined with counselling can double the success rates for smokers who want to quit. CAMH supports this provincial initiative and is grateful for the opportunity to play a key role in making it happen.”
– Dr. Peter Selby, Clinical Director, Addictions Program and Head of the Nicotine Dependence Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

“This is a win-win for Family Health Teams and their patients. By working with CAMH and the province, patients get access to NRT and quit counselling at no cost to them, and health professionals get the training they need to deliver this service at no cost to their FHT.”
– Dr. Anne DuVall, President, Ontario College of Family Physicians


    * Studies have shown that combining nicotine replacement therapy with counselling doubles the chance of successfully quitting.
    * Each year, tobacco claims 13,000 lives in Ontario – equivalent to 36 lives every day.
    * Tobacco-related disease costs Ontario’s health care system $1.93 billion in direct health care costs and $5.8 billion in productivity losses each year.
    * Family Health Teams provide care to approximately 2.6 million Ontarians.


Read about the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy.

Attempting to quit? Take the Driven to Quit Challenge or visit the Smokers’ Helpline.