Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nurses to help thousands of smokers butt out during National Non-Smoking Week

Nurses to help thousands of smokers butt out during National Non-Smoking Week

TORONTO, Jan. 13, 2011 - When nurses intervene, smokers quit. That’s the message the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) wants to spread when National Non-Smoking Week (January 16 – 22, 2011) gets underway next week.

“Smoking is one of the most important public health threats of our time. We know that 37,000 deaths a year in Canada are linked to tobacco use. Research shows that reaching out to people is one of the most important steps in determining a smoker’s willingness to quit,” explains Irmajean Bajnok, an RN and Director of RNAO’s Best Practice Guidelines (BPG) program in Toronto.

“Nurses who spend as little as three minutes  having conversations with smokers about quitting can make a difference,” says Bajnok adding arming nurses with the  best available evidence from the RNAO’s Smoking Cessation BPG is the key to reducing smoking rates.

“Nurses are often the first and most frequent point of contact with patients,” says Justine Navarro, a registered nurse who is leading the RNAO’s National Smoking Cessation Initiative. “We are in the community, in hospitals, in people’s homes, and we focus both on illness care and health promotion. We’re trusted health-care professionals and if you want to quit, we can help.”

Since 2007, RNAO has been enlisting Ontario nurses to meet the challenge. In the fall of 2010, the program was launched nationwide with funding from Health Canada. RNAO held more than a dozen workshops across the country, preparing nurses and other health- care professionals as ‘Champions’ in smoking cessation. “We have built, and are continuing to build, a strong and thriving network of nurses who are integrating proven smoking cessation strategies and techniques into their daily practice,” adds Navarro.

Navarro says RNAO is using National Non-Smoking Week to set the stage for the expansion of its effort to use nurses to reach even more smokers in Ontario and help them kick the habit.

Who: Justine Navarro, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario and Catherine Clark, Toronto Public Health

What: Media conference to announce expansion of RNAO’s Smoking Cessation program  

When: Monday, January 17, 2011 from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Where: The Novotel, 3 Park Avenue (Yonge Street & Sheppard Avenue) North York (Gibson Ballroom)

The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.

Nurses experienced in smoking cessation interventions are also available for interviews.   Since its creation, the Ontario-based SC project has trained 560 nurses in evidence-based smoking cessation interventions and 540 across Canada. Media are welcome to attend the Toronto workshop or any of the other workshops taking place across Ontario.

Provincial Smoking Cessation Initiative Workshop Locations & Dates:

Windsor: January 20-21 – Windsor Holiday Inn & Suites (Ambassador Bridge Windsor, 1855 Huron Church Road, Windsor)

Barrie: January 24 – Barrie Holiday Inn (Barrie Hotel and Conference Centre, 20 Fairview Road, Barrie)

Peterborough: January 28 – Peterborough Holiday Inn (Peterborough Waterfront, 150 George Street, Peterborough)

Dryden: February 2 – The Dryden Regional Health Centre (58 Goodall Street, Dryden)

Ottawa: February 11 - Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre (300 Des Peres-Blanc Avenue, Ottawa)

Hamilton: February 23 – Liuna Gardens (526 Winona Road, North, Stoney Creek)

For more information about RNAO, visit our website at You can also check out our Facebook page at and follow us on Twitter at

For more information, please contact:
Marion Zych
RNAO Director of Communications
647-406-5605 (cellular) 416-408-5605 (office)