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News Release

Seven champions for tobacco-free living recognized by Health Unit

May 30, 2012
Ongoing efforts to help employees quit smoking, housing options to protect tenants from secondhand smoke and policies to promote tobacco-free living are all being recognized with 2012 Tobacco-Free Champion Awards.

Ongoing efforts to help employees quit smoking, housing options to protect tenants from secondhand smoke and policies to promote tobacco-free living are all being recognized with 2012 Tobacco-Free Champion Awards. 

The awards are handed out annually to celebrate World No Tobacco Day, May 31, and mark the progress being made to eliminate tobacco use – the only legally sold product that when used as directed can be expected to kill one of every two long-term users. 

Seven awards are being presented to individuals, groups and organizations including two in Barrie, two in North Simcoe, one in Alliston and two in Collingwood. 

Winners 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. 

For more information on World No Tobacco Day, tobacco-free living, or for support to quit, visit the health unit website at or call Your Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

This year’s winners include:


Ann Harvey, Barrie Municipal Non Profit Housing Corporation

Ann Harvey and the management team from the Barrie Municipal Non Profit Housing Corporation (BMNPHC) are being recognized for their leadership and commitment to providing smoke-free housing options to low-income tenants living in Barrie. The movement started as a pilot project in February 2011 and there was immediate and overwhelming support from tenants on the waiting list for housing. As a result the management team went to the board asking for its support to transition all 953 units in its portfolio to smoke-free as new tenants are accepted.  

“Tenants were asking for smoke-free buildings and we recognized it was the right time to provide a smoke-free environment for residents and their families,” said Ann Harvey, community relations manager for BMNPHC. “Our staff and the board deserve recognition for their work to make this happen knowing it was the only way to eliminate the health hazards of drifting secondhand smoke between units.”  

Terri Strawn, Professor, Dental Hygiene Program, Georgian College

Professor Strawn is recognized as a tobacco-free champion for her commitment to cessation support initiatives for college staff as well as her work with oral health care professionals who are ideally positioned to educate tobacco users about the consequences of tobacco products on their oral health and their overall health. These professionals, she says, can and should be making this connection at every interaction and ensure it includes an offer to assist in getting support to quit.

"Tobacco use contributes significantly to oral diseases such as gingivitis, periodontitis and oral cancer," Strawn said. "Health care professionals, including dental hygienists, have a responsibility to encourage and support people to live tobacco-free. That includes knowing what, and where, cessation services can be accessed in the community."


Bay Haven Senior Care Community, Collingwood

The Bay Haven Senior Care Community is being recognized for adopting a smoke-free policy for its grounds. The centre implemented its policy on World No Tobacco Day, 2011 to encourage and protect residents, staff and visitors from the health hazards associated with tobacco use and to promote positive role modeling for those coming to the center. Bay Haven reports the policy has been well received by all no doubt in part to the work it did to build awareness and compliance with the policy and to ensure cessation support resources are available to all looking for information to support quitting. As a result everyone is breathing easier at the Collingwood site.

Monica Bovett, occupational health nurse

Occupational health nurse, Monica Bovett, has been identified as a tobacco-free champion for her commitment to help employees quit smoking at Pilkington Canada Ltd. in Collingwood and at Moore Packaging in Barrie. Trained through the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health TEACH program, to deliver effective, evidence-based cessation intervention, Bovett has been credited with enhancing the organizations’ culture by providing educational opportunities, developing policies, and creating a supportive environment for the health of employees that encourages tobacco-free living.



Wendat Community Support Programs, Midland  

Wendat has made a commitment to work towards a tobacco-free community and continues to take steps to support that commitment. To date staff trained in cessation counseling work with employees and clients interested in making a change in their tobacco use. The intake form used by crisis workers has been adapted to include a question about tobacco use and counseling includes a brief tobacco use intervention when possible. A designated smoking area has been created away from the Wendat building to prevent drifting secondhand smoke from entering the building and in an effort to support those trying to quit using tobacco products.  

Shelter Now, North Simcoe Emergency/ Transitional Residential Projects Inc.

Shelter Now at Hartog House, Midland is being recognized for its work to develop a Healthy Living Program for individuals in its residential program for housing. The building is designated as tobacco-free and residents are required to use designated smoking areas well away from the building. This promotes positive role modeling at the residence, prevents drifting secondhand smoke from entering the building and ensures residents and visitors do not have to walk through secondhand smoke when they enter and exit the building. Signage around the building restricting smoking to specific areas also works to support tobacco-free living.  


Stevenson Memorial Hospital, Alliston

Stevenson Memorial Hospital has been awarded the title of tobacco-free champion for making its grounds smoke free as of July, 2011. The hospital implemented this policy to support tobacco-free living among employees, visitors and patients. To assist patients with their tobacco addiction, the hospital offers both nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and smoking cessation counseling as part of its in-patient care program. Staff is also supported to quit smoking and be smoke-free. The nomination notes the hospital’s decision to become a smoke-free facility contributes to the health of the Alliston community and beyond. 



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