Smoke-Free Champions Recognized Across Northwestern Ontario

Smoke Free Champion Awards table

May 31, 2016 - World No Tobacco Day - marks the 10th anniversary of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.  In recognition, the Northwest Tobacco Control Area Network (NW TCAN) honoured individuals and organizations that best embody the spirit of a Smoke-Free Ontario based on open nominations.  Medical Officers of Health, Dr. Janet DeMille, Thunder Bay District Health Unit and Dr. Kit Young-Hoon, Northwestern Health Unit, acknowledged this year’s Smoke-Free Champions.  A presentation ceremony was held in Thunder Bay and awards will be presented individually in other communities throughout the region. 

During the ceremony, Dr. DeMille spoke to the importance of the work being done across the Northwest and throughout Ontario.

Smoking is a major contributing factor for heart disease and stroke, cancer, and lung diseases such as emphysema or COPD,” says DeMille, “All of these are significant causes of death and disability in Northwestern Ontario. Tackling the high smoking rates that we have requires a variety of approaches delivered in many different ways. Today, we are recognizing people and organizations that are making a difference doing what they can in their respective areas.”

Kathy Sanderson works at the Crossroads Centre, a drug and alcohol recovery home.  She was nominated by her co-worker for strongly supporting clients with the idea that early recovery from drugs and alcohol is the ideal time to quit smoking as well. Kathy has held a popular cessation group each week for the last 6 years and is passionate about helping the clients of Crossroads Centre quit smoking.

Most of our clients want to quit smoking but worry that quitting smoking, alcohol and drug use at the same time will result in relapse,“ Sanderson says. “We spend time talking about how addiction develops and how quitting tobacco increases their chances of staying alcohol and drug free. Providing a supportive peer environment where our clients can share strategies are keys to our success.”

Along with Sanderson, 23 Smoke-Free Champions were recognized across Northwestern Ontario including representatives from many different sectors, such as healthcare, housing, entertainment, youth engagement, education, agriculture, aboriginal wellness and more.  The 2016 Northwest Smoke-Free Champions are:

  • Jackson Beardy
  • Dr. Jim Morris
  • Lisa Seamark
  • Ryan McDonnell
  • Jeff Werner
  • Dr. Patricia Smith
  • Kathy Sanderson
  • Brianne Harrison
  • Aimee Beazley
  • Lisa Campbell
  • City of Thunder Bay
  • Town of Fort Frances
  • City of Kenora
  • Aboriginal Tobacco Program
  • Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board
  • District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board
  • Dryden District Agricultural Society
  • Marathon High School
  • Pelican Falls First Nations High School
  • Canadian Lakehead Exhibition
  • Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
  • Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School
  • Anishnawbe Mushkiki



For more information:

Health Unit Media Line 625-8800
1-888-294-6630, extension 8800

News Type
News Releases
Health Topics
Smoking & Tobacco