11,000 Ontarians to Receive Free Medication and Support to Quit Smoking this New Year

    TORONTO, Jan. 12 /CNW/ - This New Year is a great time to quit smoking.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is partnering with the
Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion to help people break their addiction to
cigarettes in 2009. CAMH today announced the next phase in its highly
successful STOP (Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients) Study, which will
provide nicotine replacement patches free of charge to 11,000 Ontarians who
qualify, and will support them in their efforts to break free.
    Smokers who would like to participate can register via telephone to
receive counselling and a five-week supply of NRT. The effectiveness of the
treatment will be monitored via telephone.
    "Smoking is deadly - it accounts for at least 500,000 hospital days a
year in Ontario," said Dr. Peter Selby, Clinical Director of Addiction
Programs at CAMH and Principal Investigator of the STOP Study. "Since the STOP
Study began in 2006, we have been able to offer support and nicotine
replacement therapy (NRT) to 49,000 Ontarians, thanks to funding from the
Ministry of Health Promotion. We are pleased to be able to give people another
chance to end their dependence on tobacco, and begin to live healthier this
New Year."
    Smokers are up to four times more likely to quit smoking if they have
effective access to counselling and NRT, yet many people do not use this
resource, partially due to cost - the STOP Study eliminates this barrier with
the hope of decreasing the 13,000 deaths that occur in Ontario each year from
the effects of tobacco products.
    "Participating in the STOP Study can help smokers as Ontario's ban on
smoking in motor vehicles with passengers under 16 years old comes into effect
on January 21," said the Honourable Margarett Best, Minister of Health
Promotion. "Smoking continues to be the number one leading cause of
preventable disease and death in Ontario, and the McGuinty Government is
determined to help smokers quit. The STOP Study is just one of the many
initiatives we are supporting to help Ontarians go smoke free - and lead
healthy, active lives."
    Ten per cent of participants (24,000 people) who received NRT in the
previous Ministry-sponsored distributions were still smoke-free after a year;
that's about three times higher than the quit rate for the general smoking
population. To date, the STOP study has made NRT available through the mail,
pharmacies, public health units, hospitals, community health centres and
aboriginal health access centres.
    People who would like to participate in the STOP Study can do so by
calling 1 866 484-9022 or by visiting www.stopstudy.ca

    The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest
mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's
leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental health. CAMH
combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health
promotion to transform the lives of people affected by mental health and
addiction issues.
    CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan
American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Michael Torres, Media
Relations, CAMH, (416) 595-6015

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