National Non-Smoking Week is being celebrated across Canada this week, January 15 to 21 with today (Wednesday) designated as Weedless Wednesday. Today, health departments emphasize the benefits of quitting smoking and promote community resources to help smokers quit. "Tobacco use causes approximately 350 deaths per year in Halton, with second-hand smoke responsible for roughly 20 of these deaths," said Dr. Bob Nosal, Halton's medical officer of health. "Regular exposure to second-hand smoke increases the chances of developing lung disease by 25 per cent and heart disease by 10 per cent in adults. Parents who smoke also increase the chances that their children will develop asthma by 200 to 400 per cent." In Halton, there are a variety of services and resources available for quitting, some of which include The Stop Smoking Clinic (905-825-6000), Quit Care (905-338-4691) and Smoker's Helpline (1-877513-5333). This year National Non-Smoking Week is also a chance to highlight the new provincial legislation,
The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which takes effect on May 31. The Act limits the sale, distribution and use of tobacco products, and makes it easier to prosecute tobacco retailers who sell to those under 19 years of age. The Act also bans smoking in all enclosed public places and workplaces, therefore helping to protect Ontarians from the dangers of second-hand smoke. The Halton Region Health Department has received funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to support the implementation of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. The Health Department's role includes assisting high schools with student-led tobacco initiatives, completing compliance checks of local tobacco retailers, providing education campaigns to high school students and workplaces, and offering smoking cessation services and resources. For more information on the Smoke-Free Ontario Act or local activities, including cessation activities, please contact the Halton Region Health Department at 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-4HALTON (1-866-4425866), TTY 905-827-9833, or visit the website www.halton.ca.