Hospital and Health Unit Celebrate World No Tobacco Day by Launching New Quit Smoking Website

Photo (From L-R): Kim Bordignon, a Hospital staff member who spoke about her experience with quitting smoking, Kelly-Jo Gillis, Manager, Preventive Health Services, Hospital, Jessica Jurcik (featured in the campaign), Dan DePeuter, Tobacco Control Area Network Coordinator, and Denise Maidment (featured in the campaign).

Today, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit partnered to release a new online smoking cessation support tool from the Northwest Tobacco Control Area Network (NW TCAN) called ‘’. The celebration, hosted by our Hospital, included former smokers from Northwestern Ontario who shed a light on the harsh realities of smoking-related illness and disease.

Through their video testimonials, which are available on, John Susin, Denise Maidment and Gini Jonassen share the impact that smoking has had on their lives and the lives of their family members. Susin, 48, smoked for 25 years before quitting due to health consequences he experienced and the toll that smoking had on his father, “I would have major coughing fits until I felt I would pass out, which motivated me to quit. About six months after I quit smoking, my dad was outside purring on a cigarette when he collapsed. We watched him suffer for five years before we sadly watching my dad leave this world.”

Stories like Susin’s will help to encourage people who smoke to quit, and speak to the real struggle that quitting smoking can be. “Typically, quitting smoking requires several attempts before being successful,” explained Dan Depeuter, Tobacco Control Area Network Coordinator with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit. “In addition to having the videos on the site, contains a directory of quit supports available by community in Northwestern Ontario, as well as online and self-help support, and other quitting success stories.”

Smoking kills half of all long-term users and tobacco remains the leading cause of preventive disease and death in Ontario. Since 2013, our Hospital has emphasized the importance of quitting smoking with its recommitment to the smoke-free grounds and, in particular, it’s emphasis on supporting people to quit smoking.

“As a cardiologist, I see the impact that smoking has on the quality of lives of my patients on a regular basis,” said Dr. Mark Henderson, Executive Vice President of Patient Care Services and Regional Vice President of Cancer Care Ontario. “The message that our Hospital wants to reiterate is that it’s never too late to quit smoking. Research has shown that health care can be less effective when patients continue to smoke. For example, smoking impacts wound healing, can inhibit medication from working, and can even decrease quality of life during cancer treatment.”

The smoke-free grounds initiative has garnered much attention since 2013, but Dr. Henderson explains that the initiative is to be seen more as supportive than punitive. “Smoke-free spaces, like our grounds, help to encourage more quit attempts, decrease smoking triggers for those who are in the process of quitting, and also protect other patients and families, which can include cancer patients and newborns, from the harms associated with second-hand smoke. We are committed to putting the health of our patients first.”

The campaign will run throughout 2017, and will feature video testimonials with the goal of encouraging people who smoke to make a quit attempt. In addition to these video testimonials, the website contains links to online supports from across Northwestern Ontario, quitting success stories from local champions and a directory of one-on-one counselling available by community listing.

For more information on the campaign, visit or contact your Public Health Unit. For more information on our Hospitals Smoke-Free Together initiative, visit

For more information, please contact:

Marcello Bernardo
Communications Officer
Communications, Indigenous Affairs, and Engagement
Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
(807) 684-6765