Press Releases

Friday, May 31, 2013

Province introduces pilot program to help patients stop smoking

Thousands of patients could benefit: Rondeau

The provincial government is investing in Manitoba families' long-term health by launching a three-year pilot program to help hospital patients stop smoking, Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs Minister Jim Rondeau announced today.

"Our government is helping Manitobans who smoke take the first steps towards quitting," said Rondeau.  "Manitobans staying in hospitals will be able to meet with medical staff who will help them make healthier choices."

The provincial government announced the allocation of $450,000 over three years for the pilot program today on World No Tobacco Day.  The pilot program will offer training to staff at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg to offer support to patients who want to stop smoking and give patients access to stop-smoking medications such as nicotine gum, a nicotine patch or drugs like Champix.  The program will also support patients after their hospital stay.  Up to 10,000 patients could benefit from this initiative, the minister noted.

"We want to learn how best to help people be comfortably smoke-free, whether it's the options being offered for nicotine withdrawal or the way they are being offered," said Margie Kvern, program specialist, tobacco reduction, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.  "That way we can build on our successes and have a real and long-lasting impact on our patients' health."

The minister said the benefits to a patient quitting smoking include:

  • getting home from the hospital sooner,
  • reduced risk of surgical infection,
  • reduced risk of respiratory complications, and
  • less likelihood of needing admission to intensive care.

Today's announcement of $450,000 furthers the government's commitment to allocate two per cent of tobacco taxes to tobacco control over the next four years.  Manitoba was the first province in Canada to implement a provincewide indoor smoking ban and many hospitals throughout Manitoba, including all Winnipeg hospitals, ban smoking on their grounds, Rondeau said.

"MANTRA is supportive of all efforts to assist any smoker who would like to be smoke-free," said Murray Gibson, executive director of the Manitoba Tobacco Reduction Alliance (MANTRA).  "We are particularly pleased to see our health-care facilities reaching out to provide support during a hospital stay, and even more pleased to see that support continue when a patient returns to their community."

Source: Govenment of Manitoba

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