• News
  • June 01, 2016

York Region Celebrates 10 Years of Smoke-Free Ontario

Recognizing Smoke-Free Accomplishments of Tobacco Control Champions

 RICHMOND HILL – York Region MPPs Reza Moridi, Steven Del Duca, Chris Ballard, Michael Chan and Helena Jaczek are pleased to announce that Vito Chiefari from the Regional Municipality of York Public Health was selected as one of 10 recipients of the Heather Crowe Smoke-Free Ontario Award to recognize individuals, groups and organizations that have championed tobacco control in Ontario over the past 10 years.

Heather Crowe was a non-smoker who developed lung cancer after being exposed to second-hand smoke in her workplace.

Ontario is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy with the launch of a new Cessation Action Plan that continues to support a smoke-free culture and will make it easier for Ontarians to quit smoking.

The Cessation Action Plan will create a province wide approach to providing cessation services. It will build upon existing cessation investments and will include:

  • A cessation service network of coordinated supports, programs and services that provides ongoing support to tobacco users
  • An online cessation hub that is a centralized access point to help tobacco users navigate the system and find local services and cessation aids tailored to their needs
  • One phone number available to all Ontarians 24 hours a day and seven days a week, for quitline services, including coaching and counselling by phone and texting.

Promoting a smoke-free culture is part of the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which is providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to stay healthy and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.


“On the 10th anniversary of Smoke-Free Ontario, I’m excited to launch Ontario’s new cessation plan to improve access to cessation services across the province and provide Ontarians with the information they need to make the right decisions about their health. On this year’s World No Tobacco Day, I am also honoured to recognize the accomplishments of anti-smoking advocates who, like Heather Crowe, have made significant contributions toward achieving a Smoke-Free Ontario. Today is a day to celebrate the progress we have made and to move forward with our next steps in smoking cessation, protection and prevention.”

— Dipika Damerla, Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“I extend my warmest congratulations to all the Heather Crowe Smoke-Free Ontario Award, including Vito Chiefari from Regional Municipality of York Public Health. This award aims to recognize the efforts of those, like Heather Crowe, who raised awareness of the harms of smoking and impact of second-hand smoke in Ontario.”

 Reza Moridi, M.P.P., Richmond Hill

“Congratulations to Vito Chiefari, of the Regional Municipality of York Public Health and to all of the recipients of the Heather Crowe Smoke-Free Ontario Awards.  The new cessation action plan along with protection and prevention will support our government’s plan for a smoke-free Ontario over the next 10 years.”

 Chris Ballard, M.P.P., Newmarket-Aurora

“As a physician, I am acutely aware of the importance of the Smoke-Free Ontario Policy. This policy is the strongest of its kind in North America and as a result we’ve seen smoking levels fall to unprecedented levels in this province.  The Heather Crowe Awards aim to recognize the efforts of individuals who are working to improve the overall health of our community through smoking cessation, and I’m pleased that two individuals in York Region have received this award this year. Congratulations Dr. Ted Boadway and Vito Chiefari.”

 Dr. Helena Jaczek, M.P.P., Oak Ridges-Markham

“I am proud to offer my congratulations to Vito Chiefari for his outstanding contribution to our province’s tobacco control efforts as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy. His dedication and passion in leading policy change to support a smoke-free culture is truly commendable.”

 Steven Del Duca, M.P.P., Vaughan

“This is an important anniversary for a Smoke-Free Ontario and an opportune time to build on the progress already made with further initiatives that will support health and wellness.  I extend my sincere congratulations to Mr. Chiefari and all the recipients who are championing the strategy and honouring the legacy of Heather Crowe.”

— Michael Chan, M.P.P., Markham-Unionville


  • May 31, 2016, marks the 10th anniversary of the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy, which is also this year’s World No Tobacco Day.
  • In partnership with tobacco control service delivery organizations and tobacco control advocates across the province, smoking rates in Ontario have decreased from 24.5 per cent in 2000 to 17.4 per cent in 2014. This represents about 408,250 fewer smokers.
  • Heather Crowe travelled across Canada to advocate for improved second-hand smoke by-laws. She passed away from lung cancer nine days before Smoke-Free Ontario legislation came into effect, on May 31, 2006.
  • The Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy was launched in 2006 to reduce tobacco use and lower health risks to non-smokers in Ontario.
  • Public Health Units across the province are also hosting events on May 31, 2016, to celebrate World No Tobacco Day.


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