May 30, 2019 5:34 pm

Ontario cuts funding to youth smoking cessation program, will close in June

Leave the Pack Behind says it has helped 40,600 students quite smoking since 2000.

Michael Davidson/Global News
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TORONTO – Ontario has cut funding to an agency that helps young people across the province quit smoking.

The administrator of the Leave the Pack Behind program says she has been informed by the Ministry of Health month that their annual $1-million funding would not be renewed.

The agency, which operates independently but is housed out of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., said 27 people will lose their jobs due to the funding cut.

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The program has been in operation for 19 years and initially helped people aged 19 to 25 on six university campuses quit smoking, but has since expanded to 44 post-secondary institutions and 35 public health units

Leave the Pack Behind says it has helped 40,600 students quite smoking since 2000 by providing personalized supports, referrals to health professionals and nicotine replacement treatments.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott confirmed the funding cut but said the government continues to support other smoking cessation initiatives at the University of Ottawa and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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