Residents breathing easier thanks to efforts of local champions

The behind-the-scenes work being done by local public health staff in partnership with community leaders, organizations and healthcare settings to create smoke-free, vapour-free communities continues to show tremendous progress that will have important health impacts.

To celebrate the advancements made by community partners the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is recognizing five healthcare organizations that are implementing the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation, two condominium corporations that are going smoke free to protect owners and tenants from secondhand smoke, and our region’s largest post-secondary partner that has made all of its campuses smoke and vape free to encourage young adults to stay or become smoke and vape free.

“Programs that encourage and support quitting and policies that prevent youth from becoming addicted to smoking and vaping are extremely important for our communities,” says Dr. Charles Gardner, Simcoe Muskoka’s medical officer of health and head of the health unit.

“Nearly 4,000 of our residents are hospitalized every year for smoking-attributable illnesses, and close to 900 are dying. The sad fact is that these illnesses and deaths are completely preventable.”

The winners of the 2019 Smoke-Free Champion awards are: Georgian College, North Muskoka Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic, North Simcoe Family Health Team, Waypoint Centre for Mental Health,Georgian Bay General Hospital, Collingwood General and Marine Hospital, Granite Springs Condominiums, Muskoka Falls Condominium Corp.

Dr. Gardner also acknowledged the work being done by municipal partners including the cities of Orillia and Barrie, the townships of Severn, Lake of Bays, and Essa as well as Huntsville, Innisfil, and Bradford West Gwillimbury which are in the process of, or have recently updated their bylaws to clear the air beyond the requirements of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

The health unit has been presenting the awards for more than 15 years to mark World No Tobacco Day and the efforts being made globally to minimize the death and diseases caused by tobacco industry products.  Simcoe Muskoka Smoke-Free Award winners are nominated by their peers, community members and partners for their efforts to build healthier communities in Simcoe Muskoka.

A list of past winners is available on the health unit website at


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