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Government of Canada Invests in Province-wide Tobacco Cessation Programming in Alberta

News Release
2010-90
May 31, 2010
For immediate release

EDMONTON - The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, today announced, on behalf of Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, more than $836,000 in funding to projects administered by Alberta Health Services and the University of Alberta to help Albertans stop smoking. Since August 2009, Health Canada has invested over $6.3 million in new funding to support a variety of tobacco initiatives and activities across Canada. This is in addition to support for other Government of Canada on-going projects aimed at reducing tobacco use among Canadians.

"The Government of Canada continues working to protect Canadians from the proven health hazards associated with tobacco use," said Minister Aglukkaq. "Today's funding is a step towards ensuring Canadians receive the help they need to quit smoking."

Funding from today's announcement will go towards the Building Capacity of Health Care Providers to Offer Tobacco Cessation Interventions, a project through Alberta Health Services. It is expected that over 1,600 health care professionals will receive the Tobacco Reduction and Cessation training in Alberta. All in-patient and outpatient clients can expect to be asked about their tobacco use, advised of tobacco use risks and referred for additional support and assistance to quit. This program could potentially reach 600,000 current tobacco users in Alberta.

The second initiative, Culturally Appropriate Tobacco Use Program for Aboriginal Youth through the University of Alberta's, Faculty of Nursing - Aboriginal Health Group, will provide training to health professionals, students and community members. This training will provide the opportunity to deliver the Culturally Appropriate Tobacco Use Outreach Program to Aboriginal youth in elementary and junior high schools, on- and off-reserve, across Alberta.

"The Government of Canada is proud to be working with Alberta Health Services, the University of Alberta and their partners on these two initiatives to curb tobacco use in Alberta," said Minister Ambrose. "Both projects have the potential to reach a large number of Albertans including high-risk, hard to reach target groups."

Alberta Health Services' objective is to create a cohesive and systematic cessation framework where health professionals consistently offer tobacco cessation interventions through patient contact. This province-wide initiative, which received $698,645 in funding, has the capacity to reach every person who accesses health care in Alberta.

"This project in combination with initiatives funded through the Alberta Cancer Legacy Fund builds capacity among our health care professionals to provide support to in-patient and outpatient clients in regards to smoking cessation," said Gerry Predy, Senior Medical Officer of Health, Alberta Health Services. "Alberta Health Services remains committed to reducing tobacco use in Alberta and this province-wide initiative strongly supports this goal."

The University of Alberta, Faculty of Nursing - Aboriginal Health Group's goals include increasing cessation rates among Aboriginal youth, while building capacity among Aboriginal health professionals, community leaders and students with the $137,740 in funding received from Health Canada.

"We would like to thank Health Canada for providing funds for this initiative. We have been able to travel to Aboriginal youth all across Northern Alberta providing culturally appropriate tobacco use programmes," said Daniel McKennitt, past-president of the University of Alberta's Aboriginal Health Group.

World No Tobacco Day (May 31) is a World Health Organization initiative that draws global attention to the prevalence of tobacco use and to its negative health effects. This year's theme, "Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women," aims to create awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco marketing aimed at women and girls.

Tobacco use is the single biggest cause of preventable disease, disability and premature death in Canada. It has negative effects on nearly every organ of the body. Every year, at least 37,000 Canadians die from the effects of smoking, while many others are diagnosed with related illnesses such as heart disease, lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. For more information on Health Canada's tobacco control efforts, please visit: www.gosmokefree.gc.ca.

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Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
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