Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Barrie Office
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News Release

Recognizing Georgian College’s leadership to clear the air

Nov 04, 2019
BARRIE – With the popularity of youth vaping skyrocketing the decision by Georgian College to make all of its campuses smoke- and vape-free has important health consequences for the entire community says Simcoe Muskoka’s Medical Officer of Health.

BARRIE – With the popularity of youth vaping skyrocketing the decision by Georgian College to make all of its campuses smoke- and vape-free has important health consequences for the entire community says Simcoe Muskoka’s Medical Officer of Health.

“Young people risk becoming addicted to nicotine using e-cigarettes, many of which have nicotine concentration levels that are extremely high,” said Dr. Charles Gardner. “Once addicted, evidence indicates many of these youth will move on to smoke cigarettes, the leading cause of preventable death and disease worldwide.”

 A recently released study led by the University of Waterloo professor David Hammond shows Canadian vaping rates among 16 to 19-year-olds jumped 74 per cent in the one-year period from 2017 to 2018 to almost 15 per cent. Smoking rates increased an alarming 45 per cent during the same period, a turnaround from previous years when smoking rates were on the decline.

“This cohort is now in, or will soon be heading to post-secondary campuses like Georgian College,” said Dr. Gardner. “Policies that support smoke- and vape-free behaviours are critically important efforts to stem this dangerous trend that threatens to addict a whole new generation to tobacco industry products.”

Dr. Gardner was at Georgian to present the school with a 2019 Smoke-Free Champion Award for becoming a 100 per cent Smoke- and Vape-Free Campus at all seven sites. It joins approximately 75 campuses across Canada that have committed to clearing the air to protect students, staff and visitors from secondhand smoke.

The Smoke-Free Champion Awards are presented annually by the health unit to recognize local groups, individuals and organization that take meaningful steps to reduce tobacco use and support smoke-free living to keep our communities and residents healthy.

“Our decision to go smoke free reflects our commitment to provide a clean, healthy and safe environment in which to learn and work,” said MaryLynn West-Moynes, Georgian College President and CEO. “We care deeply about the health of our students, staff and visitors at all of our campus locations and we’re absolutely thrilled to be recognized by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit for our efforts.”

“I am encouraged by the leadership shown by Georgian which, like many of our local municipalities, is committed to creating more smoke-free spaces,” said Dr. Gardner. “I urge all remaining post-secondary institutions and local councils to follow this lead so that working together we can achieve our tobacco endgame goal of less than 5% tobacco use by 2035.”

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20191101Recognizing Georgian College Leadership to Clear The Air_1
Georgian College and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit came together to celebrate the post-secondary school becoming 100% No Smoking and No Vaping. The college cleared the air for staff and students effective May 6, 2019 and making it a local Smoke-Free Champion. (L to R   Tracey Burnet-Greene, SMDHU, Jessica Lewis, Georgian College, Dr. Charles Gardner, SMDHU Jennifer Lloyd, Georgian College)

 20191101Recognizing Georgian College Leadership to Clear The Air_2

Dr. Charles Gardner presents Michele McConney, manager of athletics, with a 2019 Smoke-Free Champion Award for clearing the air at all seven Georgian College campuses so students and staff can breathe easy while they study, learn and work at the school.


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