The Government of Canada Announces Project Developed to Help the Gitxsan Communities Quit Smoking

News Release
2010-91
May 31, 2010
For immediate release

PRINCE GEORGE – The Honourable Jay Hill, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River, today announced on behalf of Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, just over $171,000 dollars in funding to Northern Health (NH) for a tobacco cessation project to be developed for the people of the Gitxsan community of Northern British Columbia.Since August 2009, Health Canada has invested over $6.3 million in new funding to support a variety of tobacco initiatives and activities across Canada. This is in addition to our support of other on-going projects aimed at reducing tobacco use among Canadians.

“The Government of Canada remains committed to protecting all Canadians from the proven health hazards associated with tobacco use,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “Today’s funding is a step towards ensuring Canadians receive the help they need to quit smoking.”

This project will provide a cessation program for the Gitxsan community and will establish local access to effective tobacco cessation for residents. It will increase understanding about tobacco addiction among community members and will build capacity among health care providers and community members to deliver tobacco cessation programs.

“Working with regional stakeholders on tobacco cessation and prevention projects continues to be a priority for our Government,” said Minister Hill. “This initiative is another step closer in supporting Canadians from all geographical regions to quit smoking.”

Northern Health is responsible for the delivery of health care services across Northern British Columbia.

“The Northern Health Tobacco Reduction Program is very pleased to be working in partnership with Health Canada and communities in the Gitxsan territory on this project,” said Kerri McCaig, Team Leader, NH Tobacco Reduction Strategy. “It will advance community knowledge about the importance of tobacco cessation and provide cessation services for community members in a way that is accessible and culturally appropriate with the ultimate goal of improving health outcomes through reduced tobacco use.”

World No Tobacco Day (May 31) is a World Health Organization initiative that draws global attention to the prevalence of tobacco use and to its negative health effects. This year’s theme, “Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women,” aims to create awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco marketing aimed at women and girls.

In addition to other target groups, the Government of Canada continues to reach out to pregnant women about the dangers of tobacco use and second-hand smoke. When a pregnant woman smokes, the fetus gets less oxygen and nutrients. Studies show that regular exposure to second-hand smoke may harm both the mother and the baby. It is encouraging that fewer Canadian women smoke when pregnant, but those who do smoke place themselves and their babies at increased risk.

Tobacco use is the single biggest cause of preventable disease, disability and premature death in Canada. It has negative effects on nearly every organ of the body. Every year, at least 37,000 Canadians die from the effects of smoking, while many others are diagnosed with related illnesses such as heart disease, lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. For more information on Health Canada’s tobacco control efforts, please visit: www.gosmokefree.gc.ca.

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Media Enquiries:
Josee Bellemare
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Health Canada
(613) 957-2983

Public Enquiries:
(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709

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