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Smoking and Vaping

Smoking, vaping, nicotine addiction and their health effects impact many people in Simcoe Muskoka. Commercial tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in Canada. In Ontario, it is responsible for nearly 17,000 deaths every year.

It is important to note that commercial tobacco is tobacco that is grown, manufactured, and sold for profit by the tobacco industry. It does not include traditional and/or sacred tobacco used for ceremonial purposes by First Nation, Metis, and Inuit communities.

Locally, about 20% of people in Simcoe Muskoka smoke cigarettes, and each year smoking-related health conditions cause an average of 861 deaths, 3,516 hospitalizations, and 7,058 emergency room visits in the region.

While only about 2 per cent of local youth smoke (an all-time low!), vaping devices (like e-cigarettes) are still addicting youth to nicotine. Between 2017-2019, vaping rates doubled among Ontario students in grades 7-12. In speaking with local youth, parents, and teachers, vaping is also a major issue among Simcoe Muskoka youth. Locally, one third of students in grades 7-12 report using an e-cigarette in the past year, with this number jumping to over 40% when only high school students are considered. Many young people do not know that using vaping products has health risks and increases the chances that they will begin smoking cigarettes.

How can we help?

The health unit's Smoke-Free Program educates our communities about smoking, vaping, and other forms of commercial tobacco (chew, hookah), and the industry that makes and sells these products. Visit our other web pages about smoking and vaping for more information. As well, parents and other caregivers can learn how to help prevent young people from becoming addicted to nicotine through vaping or support them to quit at NotAnExperiment.ca.

If you smoke or vape, we can also help you quit for good. It's never too late to quit and you don't have to do it alone. Give us a call or visit our quitting page to learn more.

We know it is easier to stop using these products or quit and stay quit if there are more smoke and vapour-free spaces in our communities. Smoke and vapour-free policies also protect you from unwanted exposure to secondhand smoke and aerosol (vapour) where you live, work, learn, and play. We can work with you and other community partners to create and promote smoke and vapour-free policies, including those for multi-unit housing (e.g., apartments, condos), colleges and universities, and workplaces.

Finally, our program educates about and enforces provincial laws, including the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017, which governs the sale, supply, display, and use of commercial tobacco and vaping products, and regulates the use of cannabis in workplaces and public places.

For more information:

Call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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