“This will put young people at greater risk of developing cancer, experiencing heart and fertility problems, and dying prematurely.” – Bhutila Karpoche, Ontario NDP critic for Mental Health and Addictions
A News Release from Ontario’s New Democratic Party
Posted May 31st, 2019 on Niagara At Large
QUEEN’S PARK — Bhutila Karpoche, Ontario NDP critic for Mental Health and Addictions, released the following statement in response to news that the Ford government has cut funding to a program that has helped thousands of college and university students quit smoking:
“It’s simply wrong for Doug Ford’s Conservatives to rip support away from young people who want to give up a deadly habit like smoking. This will put young people at greater risk of developing cancer, experiencing heart and fertility problems, and dying prematurely.
Doug Ford continues to drag Ontario backwards on youth mental health and addictions. Earlier this week, Ontarians learned that the Conservatives will spend $69 million less on children and youth mental health services compared to last year.
Young people struggling to give up smoking deserve better. We should be doing more to support youth struggling with mental heath and addictions, not less.”
A Footnote from Niagara At Large –
In a separate news release it circulatred this May 30th, Brock University stated this, in part, about the loss of provincial funding;
“When Leave The Pack Behind (the provincially funded smoking cessation program) first started, young adults held the dubious distinction of having the highest prevalence of smoking among all age groups in Ontario,” said Health Sciences Associate Professor Keli-an Lawrence. “I’d like to think that the lower rates we see today are due at least in part to the fantastic work of the program.”
It also laid the groundwork for provincial legislation restricting where smoking was allowed and where tobacco can be sold.
“I am immensely proud of the way Leave The Pack Behind made connections with young adults in all walks of life, right across Ontario, to help them resist, reduce or quit smoking or vaping,” said Lawrance. “Tens of thousands of young adults quit smoking or vaping with the genuinely respectful, compassionate and effective support of Leave The Pack Behind. That’s an amazing accomplishment.”
Brock University President Gervan Fearon said the entire University community benefited from the work done by the Leave The Pack Behind team.
“We thank them for their engagement here at Brock University and many of the gains they achieved will serve as a legacy to future generations of students, faculty and staff,” he said.
The province-wide program employed nine full-time employees, working out of the central office at Brock, as well as 18 part-time research assistants. Leave The Pack Behind will cease operations in June.
One more note from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –
It is long past time the Ford government and other governments in Canada and the United States took a known carcinogen like cigarettes completely off the market.
Meantime, post-secondary school like Brock University might consider taking a step in that direction by banning the sale of cigarettes on campus.
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