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More people being helped to quit smoking

To help more Ontarians quit smoking, people undergoing treatment for drug addictions soon will have access to free counselling supports, nicotine gum, and patches.

Over the next three years, the province will work with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to help nearly 23,000 smokers undergoing addictions treatment across Ontario.

Of those who enter an addiction treatment program, more die from tobacco-related disease than from all other causes combined.

Smokers in addiction treatment will get more help to quit through:

•a five-week treatment of over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies and counselling;

•follow-up counselling at key milestones to help quit for good;

•advice and assistance every time they see a counsellor; and

•free support through the Smokers’ Helpline.

Training also will be available for addiction service providers to help them better support their clients as they quit smoking.

Helping Ontarians quit smoking is part of the McGuinty government’s action plan to transform health care and keep Ontario families healthy.

“We’ve made tremendous strides in helping Ontarians kick the habit, but too many people are still dying from preventable diseases caused by smoking,” said Health and Long-Term Care minister Deb Matthews.

“People dealing with addictions are more likely to smoke, which is why it makes sense to extend the combination of nicotine replacement therapy and counselling to those already receiving addiction services—a move that will help save lives and keep Ontario healthy,” she added.

“Evidence shows that nicotine replacement therapy, combined with counselling, can double the success rates for smokers who want to quit,” noted Dr. Peter Selby, clinical director, Addictions Program, and head of the Nicotine Dependence Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

“CAMH supports this provincial initiative and is grateful for the opportunity to play a key role in making it happen,” he remarked.

Tobacco kills 13,000 people a year in Ontario.

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.

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