Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Barrie Office
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News Release

Health Unit hands out 10 Tobacco-Free Champion Awards

May 30, 2011
A Barrie resident advocating for smoke-free options for social housing tenants, Midland’s Junior C hockey organization, and an Orillia campus Georgian College dental educator are among 10 individuals and groups being recognized as 2011 Tobacco-Free Champions by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

A Barrie resident advocating for smoke-free options for social housing tenants, Midland’s Junior C hockey organization, and an Orillia campus Georgian College dental educator are among 10 individuals and groups being recognized as 2011 Tobacco-Free Champions by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.  

It’s all part of the World No Tobacco Day tobacco celebrations taking place globally on May 31 to mark the progress being made to stamp out tobacco use – the only legally sold product that, when used as directed, can be expected to kill one of every two long-term users.

This year’s champions were nominated by community members, public health staff and health care professionals in the community, all of whom felt their nominees were making great advances to clear the air of secondhand smoke, help people quit smoking, and encourage youth to stay tobacco free.

The winners come from across Simcoe County and the District of Muskoka and include:


Collier Place apartment for seniors – Breda Quinlivan, administrator of this high rise apartment for seniors, was alarmed that drifting secondhand smoke was threatening the health of residents and worked with them to designate the building smoke free. It grandfathered existing tenants and enacted smoke-free leases for all new tenants. The nomination was signed by more than 90 residents of Collier Place, including one gentleman who wrote that the decision to make the building smoke-free helped him quit smoking after 50 years.

Albert Coulis – A vocal advocate for tobacco-free housing options in Simcoe County, has approached health officials, municipal administrators and the government in his fight for the right to breathe clean, healthy air in his multi-unit dwelling. He was nominated by public health staff for his tenacity and commitment to protect himself and others in similar situations from drifting secondhand smoke.


North Simcoe Tobacco Team – Created as a network to increase cessation support services for people living in North Simcoe, the coalition supports health care professionals in their practice to educate and support smokers to make a quit attempt as well as working to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke in the community. To date, training workshops have been coordinated for health professionals and Getting Started classes held for people preparing to quit.

Midland Kelsey’s Flyers Junior C Hockey Club Tobacco and sports don’t mix and no one has done more to promote tobacco-free sport and recreation in the area than the team thanks to the leadership of club vice-president Randy Butineau. For the past two seasons he has worked with his players and public health staff to get chew tobacco out of sports and to encourage other teams, coaches and players to make their sports tobacco free.

Lisa Beedie – A cessation advocate for the Aboriginal community was nominated by Pam Paylor, a member of the North Simcoe Family Health Team for her commitment to addressing commercial tobacco addiction in the Aboriginal community. She is well-respected in the health community for her understanding of addiction, her sensitivity to the role of sacred tobacco and the need to encourage and support quitting in creative ways.

Tobacco Support Group, Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care The centre (formerly the Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene) was one of the first hospital sites to declare its grounds 100% smok-free in 2003. Its Tobacco Support Group has been working hard to help staff successfully quit through supports that include its most recent 12-week quit program with lunch and learn presentations by experts, free nicotine gum and other quit incentives.


Joanne Farrell, interim co-ordinator, Georgian College Dental Hygiene Program Is being recognized for her efforts to ensure that all students in the dental hygiene and assistant programs and faculty are trained in minimal contact intervention – so it may be utilized in clinical practice in the college’s Oral Health Clinic. Minimal contact intervention is a tobacco cessation intervention designed to raise awareness about the health hazards of tobacco use and to assist anyone who states they would like support to help them reduce or quit. Health practitioners in every field are being encouraged to practice minimal contact intervention each time they meet with a client who uses tobacco as a best practice to increase cessation attempts.

Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital – Is being recognized for completing the final phase of its smoke-free campus policy making its grounds 100% smok- free during National Non-Smoking Week in January 2011. The hospital began restricting onsite smoking in 2007 and has been supporting staff to quit in the intervening time including covering the cost of smoking cessation products.


Cottage Country Family Health Team – The team has made professional development around cessation counselling a priority. As well as providing training to staff at all levels, the team has developed internal polices to ensure patients receive minimal contact intervention at visits, and are offered supports to make quit attempts through individual and group cessations counselling. The team has also partnered with the province and the Centre For Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to provide free nicotine replacement therapies to residents to help them quit.


Algonquin Family Health TeamIs also recognized as a champion for their implementation and support of best practices in smoking cessation support. As well as assisting patients ready to quit they have established links with the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport and with CAMH to offer nicotine replacement therapies free of charge to support quittingThey also support community programming such as Great Beginnings for pregnant and new moms and are a founding member of the local Muskoka Tobacco Cessation Network.

For more information about tobacco use prevention, quitting supports and protection visit the health unit’s website at



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