Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Barrie Office
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2017 Tobacco-Free Champions passionate about quitting

May 30, 2017
SIMCOE MUSKOKA – If you have been asked about your smoking status, have been advised of the importance of quitting and then directed to the available supports to help you quit successfully, you have met a tobacco-free champion.

SIMCOE MUSKOKA – If you have been asked about your smoking status, have been advised of the importance of quitting and then directed to the available supports to help you quit successfully, you have met a tobacco-free champion. 

Two such champions, who have been described by their colleagues as passionate and dedicated, and who go over and above to help people quit successfully, are being recognized by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit for 2017 Tobacco-Free Champion Awards.

The health unit presents the awards annually in celebration of World No Tobacco Day (May 31). The awards highlight some of the work being done locally to reduce the deaths and diseases caused by tobacco use. In Canada alone, tobacco industry products are responsible for killing more than 36,000 people every year – more than the entire population of Orillia. Worldwide tobacco kills six million people annually.

While past champions have been recognized for the work they do to clear the air of secondhand smoke, for their positive role modeling and municipal and business policies that support tobacco-free living, this year’s recipients dedicate their days to inspiring and helping clients to quit, to sharing their expertise with colleagues and to contributing to research to help improve quitting successes.

The 2017 Tobacco-Free Champion recipients are:

20170530_2017Tobacco-FreeChampionsPassionateAboutQuitting_MichelleMichelle Garland, a Registered Nurse with the Barrie Community Health Centre, has taken a leadership role at the health centre to promote and provide smoking cessation support and education to the community. She is the organization’s representative for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Nicotine Replacement Research Project and keeps up-to-date on promising practices through ongoing training workshops. In her nomination letter her colleagues note that despite a busy schedule she ensures she gives her clients the time they need to feel supported and confident they can quit and her many success stories proves she is doing this well.







20170530_2017Tobacco-FreeChampionsPassionateAboutQuitting_KarenHertoggKaren Hergott, a Respiratory Therapist at Barrie’s Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, was nominated for the award by her hospital peers. As an asthma and chronic obstruction pulmonary disease (COPD) educator she sees first-hand the deaths, disease and pain caused by tobacco use and has committed herself to helping people become tobacco free. She has been integral in motivating other frontline staff to start the conversation about quitting smoking with their patients. With specialized training in cessation counselling she works to increase the number of brief interventions hospital users have with healthcare providers knowing that it has a significant effect on quit rates. Many of these patients – including those in the Emergency Department and attending the Pulmonary Function lab would not traditionally have been approached about quitting. She also contributes as a member of the Barrie Cessation Network to share resources, information and educational opportunities with other quit champions across the city. Her initiative and commitment were driving forces behind her nomination.




The work of these devoted quit smoking advocates, along with the ongoing effort of many local unsung heroes – coaches, teachers, landlords, pharmacists, municipal leaders, tenants and more – are all helping to make the communities where we live and play healthier. A full list of past Tobacco-Free Champions can be found on the health unit website at  



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