Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Barrie Office
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The central phone line is 705-721-7520 ext. 8533

Board Meeting Notes: Meeting of September 18, 2019

Sep 20, 2019
Board of Health Meeting September 18, 2019 topics: Sales, advertising of vaping products need to be controlled; New funding for seniors dental care; Plea for better funding for Healthy Babies, Healthy Children program

Sales, advertising of vaping products need to be controlled

The Simcoe Muskoka Board of Health is writing to the federal and provincial governments with a call to introduce stringent restrictions on the display and promotion of vaping products, and to ban flavoured e-cigarettes outright. Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner said while the vaping industry claims that e-cigarettes can help with tobacco cessation, marketing appears to be intensely focused on recruiting youth. The number of youth in Simcoe and Muskoka using the products has risen by 74% from 2017 to 2018 (jumping to 14.6% from 8.4%). This has been associated with the first increase in youth smoking seen in decades. Schools have also been struggling with vaping among students during class or on school property. With more than 500 reported cases and seven deaths from acute severe lung disease associated with vape products in youth in the United States, and one case now reported by the Medical Officer of Health in London, the board agreed there is an urgent need to prohibit the marketing that has led to this tremendous increase in youth vaping. The letter prepared by the board emphasized that the same restrictions on tobacco sales and marketing should apply to vape products.

New funding for seniors dental care

A new funding package of $2.06 million will help the health unit get the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Plan off the ground in Simcoe and Muskoka. Colleen Nisbet, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s vice-president of Clinical Service, told the board of health that an application to support the expansion of the existing oral health program has been submitted for three locations to provide dental care for low-income seniors. The dental care program was introduced in the 2019 budget by the Ontario government. Nisbet said they expected up to 3,600 seniors would qualify for the care, generating potentially nearly 11,000 appointments. Hiring of staff and training to serve clients with complex medical conditions is expected to begin in November.

Plea for better funding for Healthy Babies, Healthy Children program

A plea from the health unit for better funding for Simcoe Muskoka’s Healthy Babies Healthy Children program is on its way to the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. The program, is an innovative home-visiting service for families in the prenatal period through to a child’s entry into school. The health unit states that current funding is inadequate to fulfill the health unit’s mandate to properly provide the service. Funding shortages have been an annual problem for the program, Carolyn Shoreman, vice president of Community and Family Health Service, told the board of health. The program has not received an increase in its grant for close to a decade.


Next Meeting

The next meeting of the board of health takes place on October 16 at 9:15 a.m.
in the Midland office, A-925 Hugel Ave.

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