McGuinty Government Expands Study To Help Smokers Quit

    11,000 Smokers Will Receive Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy

    TORONTO, March 16 /CNW/ - Minister of Health Promotion Jim Watson today
announced that the McGuinty government has invested in the immediate
distribution of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to 11,000 participants in
the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's (CAMH) Smoking Treatment for
Ontario Patients (STOP) Study.
    "This investment reflects an understanding that the addiction to nicotine
is one of the toughest there is to break," Minister Watson said. "We have a
responsibility to help smokers to quit and this initiative will help to guide
us in finding the best way to make that happen."
    The STOP Study, the first study of its kind in Canada, distributes
nicotine replacement therapy free of charge along with access to supportive
telephone counselling and monitors its effectiveness in helping smokers to
quit. This mass distribution model has achieved 12 per cent quit rates among
smokers who participated in the first trial last January, 2006. The total cost
of the NRT and distribution for this round of 11,000 six-week courses is
    "We're proud that 1,600 Ontarians have successfully quit smoking so far
because of the first STOP Study trial," said Dr. Peter Selby, Clinical
Director of Addiction Programs, CAMH and Principal Investigator of the STOP
Study. "It's clear there's both a demand and a need for nicotine replacement
therapy. With the Ontario government's help, we're committed to finding the
most effective ways to help smokers quit."
    Smoking kills an average of 16,000 people in Ontario each year.
Tobacco-related diseases cost the Ontario health care system at least $1.7
billion a year, result in more than $2.6 billion in productivity losses, and
account for at least 500,000 hospital days each year.
    The government's Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy is one of the most
comprehensive in North America. Ontario's tobacco consumption has fallen by
18.7 per cent or more than 2.6 billion cigarettes since 2003. During that
time, the government has increased its investments in tobacco control six-fold
to a total of $60 million, including a $10 million increase in 2006 over the
previous year.
    Over 15,000 Ontarians have been supported in their efforts to quit
smoking due to the success of the STOP Study.
    The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is one of the largest
addiction and mental health organizations in North America and Canada's
leading mental health and addiction teaching hospital. CAMH is a Pan American
Health Organization and World Health Organization Collaborating Centre, and is
fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. CAMH combines clinical care,
research, policy, education and health promotion to improve the lives of
people impacted by mental health and addiction issues.
    Participants will also be given helpful information and resources, such
as counselling, to help in the quitting process. Those interested in
participating in the STOP Study may do so by calling 1-800-350-5305 starting
March 19, 2007 at 10:00 a.m.

    Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Adam Grachnik, Minister's Office, (416)
326-8497; Julie Rosenberg, Communications Branch, (416) 326-4833; Michael
Torres, Media Relations Coordinator, CAMH, (416) 595-6015

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