Ontario is hoping to help smokers to quit by transitioning telephone-based smoking cessation services in Ontario from Smokers' Helpline to Telehealth Ontario.
"There's no one-size-fits-all solution for Ontarians looking to quit smoking," said Christine Elliott, Minister of Health. "That's why it's so vital we offer services that can connect Ontarians to comprehensive supports, be that access to registered dieticians, primary care experts or mental health and addictions counselling."
As of October 1, Ontarians will have access to registered nurses and smoking cessation support through Telehealth Ontario, in combination with other services and health information already offered, including professional medical advice, nutrition counselling and referrals to mental health and addictions support. By transitioning these resources to Telehealth Ontario, the government expects to improve and expand frontline services and supports available to Ontarians, while saving $750,000 annually.
Telehealth Ontario is a free and confidential service for health advice and information 24 hours a day, seven days a week in more than 300 languages. Through the service, registered nurses assess health issues, provide advice and direct callers to the most appropriate care over the telephone. This can also include putting the caller in contact with other health professionals or services.
"We appreciate the Canadian Cancer Society for their long-standing partnership in delivering Smokers' Helpline, and their ongoing work on smoking cessation, tobacco control and other cancer-related issues across the country and we are committed to continue working with them to ensure a smooth and seamless transition of telephone-based cessation services to Telehealth Ontario."
The government also continues to fund other smoking cessation services at no cost, including:
- Smoking-cessation services for Ontario Drug Benefit program recipients;
- Nicotine Replacement Therapy and counselling through the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health;
- A smoking cessation program for patients in hospitals, specialty clinics and primary care settings, like a doctor's office, through the University of Ottawa Heart Institute; and
- Smoking cessation support for priority populations in northern Ontario through Lakehead University.
To get telephone-based smoking cessation support, as of October 1, 2019, and health care information and advice, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, call Telehealth Ontario toll free at 1-866-797-0000 or toll-free TTY at 1-866-797-0007.