In honour of Weedless Wednesday and National Non-Smoking Week (Jan. 18-24), Health Minister Terry Lake today celebrated the official designation of the smoke-free Canada Winter Games.
Today’s announcement supports the tobacco-cessation strategies currently underway in northern B.C. and throughout the province.
“I’m proud B.C. is hosting a smoke-free Canada Winter Games as it shows our commitment to continue reducing the rates of tobacco use in the province,” said Lake. “Our tobacco use rates are the lowest in Canada at 16.2%, but we recognize that it is important to have supports and strategies in place that will encourage more people to quit, for their health and their family’s health.”
The proclamation of the 2015 Canada Winter Games as smoke-free was created in a partnership between Northern Health, the 2015 Canada Winter Games, and the City of Prince George. Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall today signed the proclamation, which reads: “I hereby proclaim all official venues used for the 2015 Canada Winter Games as smoke-free.” The proclamation comes as the City of Prince George looks at reducing tobacco use in the city.
“As we host the 2015 Canada Winter Games, we are looking for as many ways as possible to leave a legacy. What could be more important than encouraging northern residents to make a life-changing decision to stop smoking?” said Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George-Valemount. “By declaring that these Games will be smoke-free, we are supporting residents and visitors alike to go smoke-free and seriously consider quitting smoking.”
“We feel it is important to allow people to enjoy the healthiest environments possible in Prince George, and that includes reducing the exposure to second-hand smoke,” said Hall. “With the proclamation of the smoke-free games, we hope to encourage people to quit using tobacco and use the resources available to them.”
The proclamation means there will not be designated smoking areas on-site at the 2015 Canada Winter Games’ outdoor venues and anyone wishing to smoke will need to leave the venue. There will be Northern Health staff members at various 2015 Games sites providing information on tobacco use and the benefits of quitting. This information will include the resources available for people in Prince George and throughout B.C. looking to quit.
These resources include the Smoking Cessation program, which provides up to 12 weeks of nicotine replacement therapy products at no cost, or PharmaCare coverage of prescription drugs for British Columbians wanting to quit smoking. For more information, please call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1. Since the Smoking Cessation program was launched on Sept. 30, 2011, approximately 323,405 orders for nicotine replacement therapies have been placed.
“The number of tobacco users in B.C. is dropping, which is a good sign. However, we need to continue working in collaboration with municipalities and other key stakeholders to help reduce the higher rates seen in the North,” said Dr. Sandra Allison, Northern Health’s chief medical health officer. “It is not just about the person smoking the cigarettes or chewing tobacco, but also the people around them that are affected by the second- or third-hand smoke. We want to keep all residents safe and having smoke-free games will help accomplish this goal.”
The 2015 Canada Winter Games will be the largest multi-sport and cultural event in northern B.C.’s history. It is an excellent opportunity to showcase healthy habits and lifestyles for both athletes and families.
“The 2015 Canada Winter Games wants to encourage people to think about ways they can improve their health, including getting more active, making healthier food choices, and recognizing the harm caused by their tobacco use,” said Stu Ballantyne, 2015 Canada Winter Games chief executive officer. “The 2015 Games are about celebrating sport, community, culture, and youth; but it is also about looking how we can support these values in our home community of Prince George. This partnership is helping achieve that goal.”
Another strategy currently underway is QuitNow’s week-long smoking challenge for men, created in partnership with Northern Health. Men who smoke are encouraged to try quitting for one week before the 2015 Canada Winter Games (Feb. 1-7, 2015) for a chance to win one of two cash prizes. Details on signing up for the contest are available at: www.quitnowmen.ca
Looking for more information on quitting smoking?
Please visit: www.health.gov.bc.ca/pharmacare/stop-smoking/
Looking for support or information on how to plan quitting?
Check out: www.quitnow.ca
2015 Canada Winter Games: www.canadawintergames2015.ca (canadagames2015.ca)
Men’s QuitNow contest: www.quitnowmen.ca
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
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