CCS receives funding for targeted tobacco-cessation project

22 January 2019

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) received $650,000 from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer to help reduce tobacco use among First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and urban Indigenous (FN/I/M/uI) populations living in Ontario and Saskatchewan.

The funding will support the Tobacco-Wise Cessation Services project (TWCSP), a partnership between CCS and Cancer Care Ontario’s Indigenous Cancer Control Unit (ICCU), aimed at advancing people-specific cancer control initiatives for FN/I/M/uI populations. The four-year project will create and deliver culturally appropriate and accessible commercial tobacco cessation telephone, digital and online services.

“Commercial tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable disease and death in Canada,” says John Atkinson, Director of Cancer Prevention and Tobacco Control at CCS. “There is a high need for culturally relevant, accessible and targeted tobacco cessation services in Canada designed specifically for and with First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous populations.”

Smoking rates among Canada's Indigenous populations are, on average, twice as high as those of non-Indigenous Canadians. Access to commercial smoking cessation services is especially difficult for many FN/I/M/uI people who live in northern, rural and remote communities. Often, FN/I/M/uI individuals who live in more populated areas and may be able to access cessation support programs, the services they receive may not be culturally relevant or appropriate.

Together, CCS and the ICCU will leverage their expertise and work with community partners to ensure the relevancy and accessibility of the program. The ICCU will use their networks to develop relationships with local partners who will inform how the project can be developed with an understanding of FN/I/M/uI health and wellness and in the context of distinct cultures, rights and circumstances. CCS will leverage 17 years of experience operating the Smokers’ Helpline program and similar tobacco cessation programs.

“We are thrilled to receive funding for our project with the ICCU,” said Susan Flynn, Senior Manager of Cancer Prevention at CCS. “In the long-term, this project will result in an engagement strategy and planning model that can be used to expand tobacco-cessation programs to FN/I/M/uI populations across the country.”

CCS is committed to helping all Canadians live smoke-free to reduce their cancer risk. Learn more about our smoking-cessation services on