North America's Toughest Anti-Smoking Strategy Gets Stronger

    McGuinty Calls Reducing Tobacco Use In Ontario By Almost 20 Per Cent A
    Good Start

    OTTAWA, ON, Sept. 27 /CNW/ - Ontario Liberals will make North America's
leading anti-smoking strategy even more comprehensive by offering tax breaks
on products that help smokers kick the habit, said Premier Dalton McGuinty.
    "Since we banned smoking in public places, smoking is down 20 per cent
across Ontario. This is saving the health care system millions of dollars,
saving families from untold hardship and, most of all, saving lives," said
    "Together, we've made a good start. Now is the time to build on that
success by offering smokers a little extra incentive to put down the pack of
cigarettes and pick up some healthier habits," said McGuinty.
    To help even more smokers kick the habit, Ontario Liberals will remove
the provincial sales tax from nicotine replacement therapy products including
nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers, sprays and tablets. As well,
student-led anti-smoking initiatives already in place in some high schools
will be expanded provincewide.
    McGuinty made his remarks at the Newport Restaurant in Ottawa. A waitress
at the restaurant, Heather Crowe, became a crusader for tougher anti-smoking
laws after contracting lung cancer from secondhand smoke. She passed away in
2007, but her work inspired the Ontario Liberals' Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy
- North America's toughest anti-smoking strategy.
    "Ontario Liberals want people to live long, smoke-free lives and we don't
want a single person to go through what Heather Crowe experienced. That's why
we will continue to protect people from second-hand smoke, help prevent young
people from starting to smoke, and give people the tools they need to quit,"
said Liberal Candidate for Ottawa West-Nepean, Jim Watson.
    The Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy is based on three principles: preventing
young people from starting to smoke, helping Ontarians quit and protecting
Ontarians from secondhand smoke.
    Over the last four years, investments in tobacco control have increased
by 600 per cent, from $10 million in 2003 to $60 million today.

    Some key achievements include:

    -   Today, 67 per cent of high school students have never smoked a
        cigarette - that's a 10 per cent increase since 2003
    -   The number of students in grades 7 to 12 who say they haven't smoked
        is at the lowest point since 1977.
    -   The creation of over 57 Youth Action Alliance clusters in 36 public
        health units with over 500 peer leaders - this program engages a
        greater number of youth directly in tobacco control activities within
        their local communities.
    -   The creation of the Heather Crowe Award, instituted last year to
        honour those who work for tobacco control in their communities.

    "Heather Crowe inspired Ontario's Smoke-Free legislation and the award
Ontario Liberals created in her name recognizes those individuals and
organizations across Ontario who have made a significant contribution at the
local level," said McGuinty. "Leadership, from people like Heather is
important, it's about moving forward, it's about moving forward for a healthy

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Ontario Liberal Party Media Relations, (416)
961-3800 Ext. 386

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