Every year, tobacco use kills 16,000 Ontarians and costs the health care system an estimated $6.1 billion, making it our most
deadly and most costly addiction. Quitting smoking—and staying quit—is an immense challenge for many Ontarians, but none more
so than people with mental health problems. Eighty per cent of CAMH inpatients smoke. It’s not hard to see why smoking is
a priority for CAMH.
“Other than the big tobacco companies, I don't know of any organization in the world that has so many people working on nicotine.”
Dr. Paul Garfinkel, President and CEO
This year, we hired two internationally renowned experts in addiction, Dr. Tony George from Yale University and Dr. Bernard
Le Foll from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
They join the 50 CAMH staff focusing on every aspect of smoking, from genetic, social and population research to treatment,
health promotion and prevention. We have developed new understandings of nicotine dependence and launched successful new province-wide
CAMH takes an integrated, holistic approach to tobacco use—as it does to all complex addiction and mental health issues. This
means using research to improve clinical care, as well as building education, health promotion and disease prevention programs
in the community. Working with the Ministry of Health Promotion and the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association, CAMH has distributed
nicotine replacement therapy province-wide by partnering with local pharmacists and public health units.
CAMH runs smoking cessation and awareness programs through our 32 provincial sites and community-based partnerships. These
programs, ranging from teen tobacco challenges in schools to programs targeting French-speaking immigrants or the lesbian
and gay community, reach thousands of people annually.
CAMH’s STOP Study helped 1,600 Ontarians quit smoking
(Click image for larger view)
Dr. Peter Selby at one of several official events held this year in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Promotion to
launch different phases of the STOP Study.
Our groundbreaking STOP (Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients) Study showed promising results for a new approach to smoking cessation.
The mass-distribution program provided free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as nicotine gum or patches, to nearly
14,000 participants. At least 12% of the participants stayed off tobacco for six months. The normal quit rate is seven per
cent for Ontarians under age 45, and three per cent for those over 45.
“It would take 14 years to help 14,000 smokers quit through other therapies. With this model of distributing NRT, we were
able to reach a wider audience and help them in a shorter time frame,” says Dr. Peter Selby, Clinical Director of Addictions
Programs at CAMH and Principal Investigator of the STOP Study.
Making Connections: Integration in Mental Health and Addiction