Person snaps an unlit cigarette in half

This Version Posted: January 18, 2021

– New Program Offers Free Counselling and Nicotine Patches to People Trying to Quit –

If your New Year’s Resolution to quit tobacco has already gone up in smoke, this free program may be just what the doctor ordered to get you back on track in 2021.

During National Non-Smoking Week (Jan. 17-23), the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is promoting a new program for Ontarians (ages 18+) that offers phone counselling and a free six-week supply of nicotine patches/lozenges to help individuals become tobacco-free. Funded by the provincial government, the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation Community Program has been shown to reduce smoking rates and tobacco-related deaths. The program is based at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

“The New Year is traditionally a time to become healthier or give up a bad habit,” says Karen Taylor, a Public Health Nurse with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Too often, our resolutions can be quickly forgotten only days or weeks into January. For anyone who wants to become tobacco-free in 2021, the Ottawa Model’s Community Program is well worth trying to get you back on track – and National Non-Smoking Week is the perfect time to do just that.”

To access the program, follow these simple steps:

  • Call the Ottawa Model community program at 1-888-645-5405 and leave a message with your contact information. Within two business days, a Nicotine Addiction Treatment Specialist will get back to you to see if you qualify for the program (NOTE: With consent, health care providers can also register their patients for the program).
  • If you are eligible for the program, you will be mailed a six-week supply of nicotine patches, lozenges, gum, inhaler or similar product. Regular phone counselling will also be offered to help you through the quitting process.
  • As a client, you will receive regular follow-ups either by phone or email to see how you are doing.

“Research shows nicotine replacement therapy can greatly increase people’s chances of becoming tobacco-free,” Taylor adds. “Combine that with the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation’s successful track record in helping people quit, and you are in excellent hands.”

Becoming tobacco-free can take several quit attempts, so even if people have not been successful in the past, Taylor encourages them to try again now by tapping into the free community program.

For media inquiries, contact:

Karen Taylor, Public Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577, ext. 2240.