Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death and illness in Canada. Each year, tobacco use is responsible for about one-third of all cancers and an estimated 13,000 deaths in Ontario. There is no safe level of tobacco use or exposure to second-hand smoke. By quitting or not starting, serious illness and death can be prevented.
In Northwestern Ontario, the rate of smoking is about the same as the provincial average.
Common types of tobacco products include cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, blunt wraps, hookahs, chew, dip, snuff, and snus.
Electronic cigarettes, also called e-cigarettes and vapes, are tobacco industry products. They come in many shapes and sizes – ranging from long cylindrical units to small boxes with a mouthpiece, to flat sticks similar in look to USB memory sticks. Although it is assumed to be safe than smoking, vaping is not harmless – short and long-term health effects are still being studied.
The Northwestern Health Unit works to prevent youth from starting to use tobacco and vape products, protect people from second-hand smoke/vapour, and can help tobacco users quit. The following programs and services are offered by the health unit:
- Providing opportunities for tobacco users to make quit attempts.
- Counselling and resources for smokers who want to quit.
- Cessation counselling training for people who want to help smokers quit.
- Work with partners to help youth remain tobacco/vape-free
- Hosting events aimed at denormalizing the tobacco and electronic cigarette industries
- Enforcing the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017
- Supporting smoke/vape-free outdoor space by-laws and smoke/vape-free housing
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