Want to quit smoking? Ask your doctor.

TORONTO, May 31, 2011 /CNW/ - Today is World No Tobacco Day and Ontario's doctors are taking the opportunity to remind people about the dangers of smoking and are urging smokers to talk to their doctor about how they can quit for good.

Ontario's doctors have been strong advocates for providing smoking cessation drugs to patients who need these to quit, but can't afford the prescription. The OMA is calling for the addition of these smoking cessation medications to the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan and including them in other public and private insurance plans in order to reach the patients who need this help.

Earlier this year, Ontario's doctors released a policy platform, "Better care. Healthier patients. A stronger Ontario." The platform contains a thoughtful and practical set of 41 policy recommendations, including a renewed "war on tobacco" in Ontario:

  • A comprehensive cessation system that includes provincial coverage of smoking-cessation treatments, to get people the help and support they need to quit;

  • A drastic reduction in the number of retail tobacco outlets across Canada;

  • A moratorium to be placed on the sale of new tobacco products; and

  • A comprehensive contraband control strategy to be implemented immediately, which would include sanctions against suppliers of raw materials to unlicensed manufacturers.

Quotes

"Ontario's doctors want people to be aware of the dangers and risks they are taking when they smoke, especially young people.  We need to make sure people have access to the help and support they need to quit and we need to keep contraband cigarettes out of the hands of youth."

Stewart Kennedy, MD, President of the Ontario Medical Association

"Too many young people can get their hands on contraband tobacco. This access to cheap smokes is eroding the progress that we have made in the fight against tobacco illnesses.  We need a comprehensive plan to stop contraband in this province."

Stewart Kennedy, MD, President of the Ontario Medical Association 

Quick Facts

  • There are 2.3 million smokers in Ontario today compared to 2.1 million smokers in the 1960s.

  • A survey conducted by the Canadian Cancer Society in 2008/09, showed that 3% of youths (grades 6-9) are smokers.

  • Tobacco use accounts for 85% of lung cancers, 30% of cancer deaths and 13,000 deaths a year.

  • Tobacco costs Ontario's health-care system $1.6 billion per year

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

For further information:

OMA Media Relations at (416) 340-2862 or toll-free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862

@OntariosDoctors


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