Ontario Lung Association

Ontario Lung Association

January 19, 2011 15:45 ET

Ontario Lung Association: Crucial Step Forward Helps Smokers on Their Road to Quitting

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 19, 2011) - The Ontario Lung Association congratulates the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport for taking a crucial step forward to help smokers who want to quit as announced Wednesday.

"In our battle against this number one killer, today's announcement illustrates a unique partnership between both health ministries," says George Habib, president and CEO of the Ontario Lung Association. "Although many different approaches are needed, we know that Family Health Team settings will be an important place to reach smokers in their struggle to end this powerful addiction."

The Ontario Lung Association supports this move as part of a comprehensive smoking cessation system, which is needed because it often takes several complementary therapies and more integrated support to effectively combat nicotine addiction.

"While today's announcement is a positive effort in the right direction, the system still needs to address prescription cessation medication coverage if we want to better assist smokers through one of the toughest challenges they will ever face," says Habib. "We know about one million Ontarians tried to quit last year and couldn't. That tells you how difficult it is and how many different strategies are needed to help them."

Prescription medication, nicotine replacement therapies, more and better access to counselling, 24-hour help lines and a strong contraband tobacco control strategy are all important elements of an effective cessation system. The Lung Association has asked the government to provide coverage for prescribed medications used in quit plans and says that while it may seem like a big investment for government, it isn't. In fact the economic model works very much in the taxpayer's favour with an estimated net gain of $21 million to $36 million annually.

"We know to knock down a mountain you need to do it one rock at a time," says Habib. "We're saying that with more resources, smokers can move more rocks faster. Their success is in everyone's best interest. We look forward to more announcements about further support for smokers."

About an Ontario Lung Health Strategy

To read more about or to pledge your support for The Lung Association's proposed lung health strategy visit www.on.lung.ca/olhs.

About The Lung Association

The Lung Association is one of Canada's oldest voluntary, not-for-profit health-promotion organizations. The Lung Association is concerned with the prevention and control of asthma, chronic lung disease caused by smoking and with air quality and its effect on lung health.

The Ontario Lung Association was incorporated in 1945, and has community offices across the province. Visit the Ontario Lung Association online at www.on.lung.ca for more information.

Contact Information

  • Media enquiries:
    Ontario Lung Association
    Karen Petcoff
    416-864-9911 ext 283
    Cell: 416-275-6844