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News Release

Local champions recognized for their tobacco-free living accomplishments

Jun 17, 2015
What’s your ideal community to live in? How about this for a model

SIMCOE MUSKOKA – What’s your ideal community to live in? How about this for a model…

Imagine finally quitting smoking after many attempts. Feeling great about breaking the addiction that has been wearing away at your health, you head out for a morning walk. Your municipality, a longtime promoter of healthy active living, has enhanced the provincial law banning smoking around sports fields and play areas with its own bylaw that prohibits tobacco and e-cigarettes on its trails, walkways and waterfront. With no visual temptations along the way you are feeling confident you can stay smoke free. Heading back home and entering your condominium that has just become a smoke-free building you are breathing easier than you have in years.

This year, five local Tobacco-Free Champions are being honored by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit for helping our residents play, live and become tobacco free in similarly supportive ways.

The Tobacco-Free Champion awards were created in recognition of World No Tobacco Day, celebrated on May 31 each year to mark the progress being made to reduce the death and disease caused by tobacco products.

The World Health Organization estimates tobacco product use kills nearly six million people each year, including 37,000 in Canada. More than five million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use and 600,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to secondhand smoke.

For information or support about quitting tobacco, or making the places you live, work and play tobacco free visit the health unit website at www.simcoemuskokahealth.org or call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.

The 2015 champions include:

Couchiching Family Health Team

Working to help people quit smoking, Nurse Practitioner Emily Greb and the Smoking Cessation Group at the Couchiching Family Health Team have been providing smoking cessation sessions to hundreds of patients over the past year with tremendous success. Patients are referred from more than 40 physicians in the team to the smoking cessation program, which runs after hours to meet the needs of clients. The feedback has been excellent, said nominator Dr. Kim McIntosh, and the success rates for quitting or cutting back are fantastic.

Ginny Myles, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre 

At Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre patients, family members and staff find support to break their nicotine addiction from Ginny Myles. Her colleagues in healthcare nominated her for her knowledge and passion supporting people to become tobacco free. Among her recent successes, she implemented a provincial STOP smoking hospital demonstration project that helped more than 60 patients in a five-month period. She is recognized for continually working to address gaps in cessation support at the Health Centre and in the community. She is also recognized as a mentor to the Regional Cancer Program supporting the development of the Quit Specialist services. 

Town of Innisfil

The leadership shown by the Town of Innisfil to promote healthy, active, tobacco-free living makes it a model for other communities. The town proactively passed a bylaw to ban all forms of tobacco product use including chew tobacco and e-cigarette vaping on its trails, green spaces, waterfront and at all recreation areas. It has been a natural next step for the town, which, in partnership with the Innisfil Rotary Club, has hosted a number of tobacco-free events with positive support from residents, says Public Health Nurse Terry Chambers who nominated the town.

Collingwood Galleries Condominium

The Galleries, a 90-unit condominium high-rise in Collingwood, made the decision to become a No Smoking building after its attempts to stop tobacco smoke from drifting between units proved impossible. The board of directors worked with Brian Schryver, property manager with Pro Guard Management, to research smoke-free options that would protect owners from exposure to secondhand smoke and save the corporation money in repairs and maintenance.  The condominium is celebrating its first year as a 100-per-cent smoke free building. It has become a model for other condominium owners who want to protect their health and the investment in their homes.

Bracebridge Drumkerry Condominium

The board of directors for the 42-unit condominium Drumkerry By The Falls complex in Bracebridge chose to introduce a No-Smoking policy to protect residents from involuntary exposure to drifting secondhand smoke. The board decided it would not impose the No-Smoking policy on existing owners who were smoking in their units, but would require any new owners to agree to keep their units smoke free so that with unit turnover the building will become totally smoke free. It also made its grounds smoke free. Since implementing the policy, the board has inspired other properties to begin exploring a No-Smoking policy.

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Orillia’s Couchiching Family Health Team’s Nurse Practitioner Emily Greb (third from left) and the Smoking Cessation Group receive a Tobacco-Free Champion award from Shawna Frolick (second from right), of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s Tobacco Program. The group is being recognized for their commitment and success helping local residents quit smoking—an addiction that kills one of two long-term users. From left, Joanna Hicks, Stephanie Kersta, Emily Greb, Shawna Frolick SMDHU presenter, Lynne Davies.



Barrie RVH winner Ginny Myles, right, receives her Tobacco-Free Champion award from Stephanie McLarty, left, and Jen Bouwmeester, centre from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s Tobacco Program. 



Town of Innisfil is being recognized as a Tobacco-Free Champion for its progressive bylaws to encourage tobacco-free living that include a ban on use of tobacco product use including chew tobacco and e-cigarette vaping on its trails, green spaces, waterfront and at all recreation areas. The award presentation will be made at a council meeting later this summer. 



Collingwood Galleries Condominium board members were supported by Brian Schryver, of ProGuard Management in their move to become a 100 per cent smoke-free building to keep maintenance costs down and protect owners from drifting secondhand smoke.   



Bracebridge Drumkerry Condo owner Maureen Brown and current board president Elizabeth Barnes accepted the Tobacco-Free Champion award for their work to make their condo building No Smoking.

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