STOP Program: helping smokers quit smoking

Media Release – Nov 21, 2011

EASTERN ONTARIO – Smokers from across Ontario have the opportunity to enroll in the STOP (Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients) Program and receive nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), free of charge to help them in their attempt to quit smoking. 

For many smokers, the cost of nicotine replacement products is a barrier to quitting. The evidence-based STOP Program provides five weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy, a practical support for alleviation of nicotine withdrawal symptoms, which we know will help them to stop smoking.  

Those interested in participating in the STOP program may do so by attending a STOP workshop, to be held in Cornwall on December 12 and 13, and in Alexandria on December 13. To find out if you are eligible to participate, and to register for the workshop, call the Eastern Ontario Health Unit at 613-933-1375 or 1 800 267-7120. Ask for Health Line.

The STOP Program is conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and is funded by the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport as part of its Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy.  

In addition to providing NRT, STOP will offer educational material to encourage the program participants to make broader changes that can improve their health even more, because often smoking does not occur in isolation, but rather accompanies other risk factors for disease, such as poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. 

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada’s leading addiction and mental health teaching hospital. Integrating clinical care, scientific research, education, policy development and health promotion, CAMH transforms the lives of people impacted by mental health and addiction issues.

Background: The STOP Program

Introduced in 2005 through a partnership between the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport, the STOP Program has already provided nicotine replacement therapy such as nicotine gum and patches, as well as bupropion and varenicline, free of charge, in addition to counseling support to an unprecedented 68,000 people from across Ontario.  

Baseline questionnaires and follow-up surveys, spaced over six months post-treatment will help the STOP Program researchers learn more about the long-term impact of providing nicotine replacement therapy and other smoking cessation aid free of charge to smokers Ontario-wide. To date, results for STOP participants have shown an improvement of at least two times the typical quit rates.  

While smoking rates in Ontario have declined over the past twenty years, 1.6 million Ontarians continue to smoke and 16,000 die each year from the effects of commercial tobacco products. Therefore, provision of smoking cessation support to smokers in Ontario is strongly indicated.

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