Renew efforts to reduce number of smokers: Ontario's doctors

TORONTO, May 31 /CNW/ - This World No Tobacco Day, Ontario's doctors are calling for renewed efforts to reduce the total number of smokers in Ontario. While the current government has shown leadership by implementing a number of initiatives to help reduce the use of tobacco and second hand smoke, there is still more work to be done.

In its most recent report on tobacco, the Ontario Medical Association found that the total number of smokers in the province remains at just over two million, the same number of smokers as in the 1960s. Although the percentage of the population who smokes has decreased significantly over the years, because of population growth, the total number of smokers has stagnated.

"Despite the work that's been done, this information demonstrates a real need to reduce the number of smokers in the province," said Dr. Mark MacLeod, President of the OMA. "Tobacco use is a concern not only because of the health impacts it causes, but also because it costs Ontario's health care system $1.6 billion annually."

The OMA report, Tobacco, Illness, and the Physician's Perspective, makes the following recommendations:

    
    -   A comprehensive, province-wide cessation system to be implemented 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.
    

While the OMA wants to see a renewed effort in the fight against tobacco, it also wants smokers to take a proactive approach to their own health by talking to their doctor to help them quit. While data from 2008 shows that the number of smokers seeking counsel from their doctor is almost double what it was two years ago, there is still room for improvement.

"Ontario's doctors see the health impacts of smoking every day and the costs involved are increasing," said Dr. MacLeod. "By following our recommendations, we can reduce the impacts and help people quit for good."

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association

For further information: For further information: please contact OMA Media Relations at (416) 340-2862 or toll-free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862


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