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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

- Ten Years After Smoke-Free Ontario Act Took Effect, Still More Progress to be Made in Fight Against Tobacco Use -

Despite celebrating success in curbing tobacco use in Ontario, health officials aren’t resting in their efforts to get more people to quit.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit and Ontario government are marking World No-Tobacco Day today (May 31) by celebrating 10 years since the landmark Smoke-Free Ontario Act first took effect. Initially in 2006, the provincial law banned smoking in all enclosed public spaces and workplaces in Ontario.

In subsequent years, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act has been expanded to: restrict the promotion and display of tobacco products in stores; ban the sale of flavoured cigarillos; prohibit smoking on and around playgrounds and publicly-owned sports fields; ban smoking in vehicles in which children under the age of 16 are passengers; ban smoking on bar and restaurant patios; and, most recently, limit the sale and supply of e-cigarettes to youth under 19 years of age.

“Today is a day to celebrate the progress we have made and to move forward with our next steps in smoking cessation, protection and prevention. I want to thank all anti-smoking advocates who have made significant contributions to achieving a Smoke-Free Ontario,” says Dipika Damerla, Ontario’s Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

“We can all breathe a little easier in Ontario, thanks to the achievements made through the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and other provincial strategies to curb tobacco use,” adds Stephanie Logan, a Health Promoter with the HKPR District Health Unit. “But even as we celebrate a decade of achievement in tobacco control efforts, there is still more we can do in our communities.”

Nationally, smoking is still the leading cause of premature death in this country. In Ontario, tobacco kills approximately 13,000 people every year.

Logan is heartened by the ongoing efforts to fight tobacco use and discourage young people from starting to use it. Work continues on a law that would call for plain and standardized tobacco packaging in Canada. The Health Unit also continues to fight tobacco use in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes by:

• Working with landlords and tenants to create more smoke-free apartments, condos and townhouses in the area.

• Providing quit-smoking support programs and services to local residents. This includes promoting the free Smoker’s Helpline and offering the Smoking Treatment For Ontario Patients (S.T.O.P.) program on a regular basis in the area. S.T.O.P., which provides five weeks of free nicotine patches to eligible smokers, is being offered on June 4 in Campbellford and on June 15 in Lindsay.

• Engaging local youth to champion smoke-free living and the risks of tobacco use to their peers. In the City of Kawartha Lakes, this has included local youth lobbying for a federal ban on flavoured tobacco; highlighting the unethical marketing strategies used by the tobacco industry to encourage teenagers to start smoking; holding events and school presentations on the dangers of using smokeless tobacco; discouraging people from supplying tobacco products to underage teens; and raising awareness about the need for smoke-free movies for youth under the age of 18 years.

For more quit-smoking resources, including upcoming S.T.O.P. programs, and more information on the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577.

For media inquiries, contact:

Stephanie Logan, Health Promoter, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100.

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