Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Barrie Office
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Residents breathing easier thanks to efforts of local champions

Jun 03, 2019
The behind-the-scenes work being done by local public health staff in partnership with community leaders, organizations and healthcare settings to create smoke-free, vapour-free communities continues to show tremendous progress that will have important health impacts.

SIMCOE-MUSKOKA – The behind-the-scenes work being done by local public health staff in partnership with community leaders, organizations and healthcare settings to create smoke-free, vapour-free communities continues to show tremendous progress that will have important health impacts.

To celebrate the advancements made by community partners the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is recognizing five healthcare organizations that are implementing the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation, two condominium corporations that are going smoke free to protect owners and tenants from secondhand smoke, and our region’s largest post-secondary partner that has made all of its campuses smoke and vape free to encourage young adults to stay or become smoke and vape free.

“Programs that encourage and support quitting and policies that prevent youth from becoming addicted to smoking and vaping are extremely important for our communities,” says Dr. Charles Gardner, Simcoe Muskoka’s medical officer of health and head of the health unit. 

“Nearly 4,000 of our residents are hospitalized every year for smoking-attributable illnesses, and close to 900 are dying. The sad fact is that these illnesses and deaths are completely preventable.”

The winners of the 2019 Smoke-Free Champion awards are: Georgian College, North Muskoka Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic, North Simcoe Family Health Team, Waypoint Centre for Mental Health, Georgian Bay General Hospital, Collingwood General and Marine Hospital, Granite Springs Condominiums, Muskoka Falls Condominium Corp.

Dr. Gardner also acknowledged the work being done by municipal partners including the cities of Orillia and Barrie, the townships of Severn, Lake of Bays, and Essa as well as Huntsville, Innisfil, and Bradford West Gwillimbury which are in the process of, or have recently updated their bylaws to clear the air beyond the requirements of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. 

The health unit has been presenting the awards for more than 15 years to mark World No Tobacco Day and the efforts being made globally to minimize the death and diseases caused by tobacco industry products.  Simcoe Muskoka Smoke-Free Award winners are nominated by their peers, community members and partners for their efforts to build healthier communities in Simcoe Muskoka.

A list of past winners is available on the health unit website at


2019 Smoke-Free Champions 

  • Georgian College, Barrie, On

    What better way to support youth to stay smoke free than to clear the air at their post-secondary campus? Georgian College has been recognized as a smoke-free champion for its healthy decision to make all of its campus locations 100% smoke and vape free. The move ensures that students will not be exposed to smoking or vaping in the course of their day. For the majority of youth who leave high school as non-smokers, it helps to ensure they do not become addicted to tobacco products as young adults. For students who come into the setting already smoking, it encourages them to quit by removing temptations to use any products. The Smoke-Free Campus policy covers all tobacco industry products including e-cigarettes, hookah and cannabis. Georgian College joins a growing number of post-secondary schools that are putting the health of their students first. 

  • North Muskoka Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic, Huntsville, On

    The North Muskoka Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic in Huntsville is recognized as a smoke-free champion for implementing the Ottawa Model of Smoking Cessation in this primary care setting. The Ottawa Model is used to ensure the smoking status of every patient is identified and documented as a component of routine care. Patients are asked about tobacco use, advised of the benefits of quitting, assessed for readiness to quit, and provided treatment and follow-up to support long-term success. This team and its cessation clinician have shown exemplary commitment to best practice and continuing education in order to support every patient who wants to quit smoking.    

  • Granite Springs Condominiums, MSCC # 67, Manitoba Street, Bracebridge

    Residents of Granite Springs Condominium in Bracebridge are breathing easier since they voted to amend their condominium’s declaration to make the entire building and grounds no smoking. The move clears the air of all types of smoke to protect owners, visitors and workers in the 46-unit building from the health hazards associated with breathing secondhand smoke. Smoke-free buildings also reduce the risk of fires, decrease maintenance and cleaning costs, and increase resale values for owners -- making it both a healthy and smart decision for the condominium community. 

  • Muskoka Falls, MSCC #7, Ecclestone Drive, Bracebridge

    The Muskoka Falls townhouse development is recognized as a smoke-free champion for choosing to make its complex smoke free. The condominium owners have voted to transition the property to no smoking to protect residents, visitors and workers at the site from involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke.  The board has chosen not to impose the no-smoking policy on three of the existing 16 owners who want to continue to smoke in their units and these will transition to smoke free when they change ownership. The townhouse grounds have also been designated no smoking to prevent situations where smoke can drift back into units from balconies and through open doors and windows. 

  • North Simcoe Family Health Team, Midland, On

    The North Simcoe Family Health Team is committed to helping people quit smoking. It has adopted the Ottawa Model of Smoking Cessation (OMSC) to increase quit rates among patients. The model is used to ensure all patients who smoke are identified and supported to quit by removing as many barriers and providing as many incentives as possible. Healthcare team members are asking patients about tobacco use as a component of routine care; advise of the benefit of quitting and assess readiness to try; and provide treatment and follow-up to support success. The OMSC has been shown to increase long-term smoking abstinence rates; reduce downstream healthcare use; and reduce premature risk of death. The commitment by the family health team to support smoking cessation means timely access to help for those patients ready to quit.   

  • Waypoint Centre for Mental Health, Penetanguishene, On

    The Waypoint Centre for Mental Health, which adopted a smoke-free grounds policy 15 years before it was mandated by the province, continues to demonstrate it is a smoke-free champion. It has now committed to implementing the OMSC at its site. This model supports patients and staff to break their nicotine addiction while at the Waypoint setting and to remain smoke free when they leave.  By providing consistent identification, documentation, treatment, and follow-up of all patients or clients who smoke, the results will be more quit attempts and, ultimately, more people becoming smoke free. To ensure a smooth implementation of the evidence-based model it has planned an education day with the doctor who was instrumental in the development of the widely adopted model. In the spirit of community and healthcare partnerships the centre has invited area hospitals to share in the learning opportunity which will benefit residents in Simcoe County by ensuring timely and multiple opportunities for people who smoke to receive encouragement and support to become and stay smoke free.

  • Georgian Bay General Hospital, Midland, On

    Since 2018, Ontario’s Smoke-Free Ontario Act has required all hospital grounds to be 100% smoke and vape free. Georgian Bay General Hospital saw this as an opportunity to make changes to support patients and staff to overcome their addiction to cigarette smoking. In the spirit of a true smoke-free champion, the hospital is implementing the OMSC to help both patients and staff quit smoking while in hospital and maintain their smoke-free status when they return to the community.  The hospital has identified a team to support implementation of the model that ensures patients who smoke are identified, assessed for readiness to quit, offered supports, and encouraged and supported to link with community partners to help them stay smoke free on discharge. The outcome is expected to be an increase in long-term smoking abstinence rates; reduced downstream healthcare use; and fewer smoking attributable deaths.  Smoking and vaping on the hospital grounds is also being addressed by security personnel and visitors and staff are being warned and if needed ticketed. This comprehensive approach to help patients and staff and build community cessation partnerships are all helping community members embrace a smoke-free lifestyle. 

  • Collingwood General and Marine Hospital, Collingwood, On

The Collingwood General and Marine Hospital, which is known for its commitment to promote the health and wellbeing of patients, caregivers and volunteers, is taking another major step forward and is moving to implement the OMSC. The hospital has been leading the charge to help treat and protect patients and visitors from the harmful effects of tobacco since 2008 when the hospital grounds went smoke free to protect everyone coming on to the campus from secondhand smoke, and to set a positive example in the community for smoke-free living. Under the OMSC, all tobacco users will be identified and offered cessation supports. The expected outcome of this evidence-based model is that more patients will quit and stay quit when they go back into the community, reducing downstream healthcare use, and reducing the risk of premature death.


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