FREDERICTON, N.B. – The following message was issued by Healthy and Inclusive Communities Minister Dorothy Shephard on the occasion of National Non-Smoking Week, Jan. 20-26:
I am pleased to recognize National Non-Smoking Week. This year's theme is Live, work, play...even better smoke-free.
It is no secret that smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable disease, disability and premature death in Canada. As statistics for tobacco use in the province remain unchanged from last year, and higher than the national average, it is clear that this is an issue we must continue to tackle head on.
Promoting tobacco-free living is a key component of Live Well, Be Well. New Brunswick's Wellness Strategy (2009-2013). Through the strategy, we are working collaboratively to create a culture of well-being in New Brunswick where living tobacco-free is the norm and not the exception.
Through partnerships with many non-government organizations, as well as the Horizon and Vitalité health authorities, actions and investments on prevention, protection and cessation have been implemented and are ongoing.
In addition, the Department of Health has several key pieces of tobacco-free legislation, which fall under the responsibility of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, that promote tobacco-free living by supporting smoke-free public places and restricting both tobacco advertising and sales to youth. The goal is to create environments that will discourage people, especially children from ever starting to use tobacco.
On behalf of the provincial government, I encourage anyone who wants to quit smoking to contact the Smokers' Helpline, either by going online or telephoning 1-877-513-5333 for free counselling, advice and support.
Throughout this week, I ask all New Brunswickers to think of the many benefits of leading a tobacco-free lifestyle, including your health, your family and your community.
By working together and supporting each other, we can help increase the number of New Brunswickers living tobacco-free and rebuild a healthier New Brunswick.
Simply put, we all have a role to play in encouraging and supporting tobacco-free living, not just throughout this week, but year-round.