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Wal-Mart to help smokers butt-out
January 17, 2005
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Ottawa, Ontario. -- To kick off National Non-Smoking Week (January 16-22), Health Canada and Wal-Mart Canada are teaming up to help smokers quit. Beginning in January, Wal-Mart Canada will display Health Canada pamphlets and posters on how to quit smoking and further promote these messages on their in-store radio. Smokers interested in quitting will be directed to a Wal-Mart pharmacist to receive advice on how to quit. Previous research shows that pharmacists are a trusted source of information on quitting.

“The key to success is comprehensive, integrated and sustained action, carried out in collaboration with all partners," says Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh. "This initiative with Wal-Mart provides Health Canada with a great opportunity to distribute and promote our resources to a wide audience."

"Canadians have come to rely on Wal-Mart pharmacies for up-to-date news and information on healthy living programs," says Ron Waschuk, Director of Pharmacy and Vision Centres at Wal-Mart. "By partnering with Health Canada we can help smokers access the latest information on how to quit."

The collaborative agreement between Health Canada and Wal-Mart will be carried out in all 242 Wal-Mart stores across Canada. It will build on the success of the Bob/Martin television advertising campaign, which is aimed at adults 40-54 and is designed to encourage smokers contemplating quitting to take action. The Bob/Martin campaign will be returning to television this month. The initiative with Wal-Mart Canada will take advantage of the campaign's momentum and reinforce the campaign messages and promotion of quitting resources. There is no cost associated with this agreement.

Every year, more than 45,000 Canadians die from disease or illness caused by using tobacco and at least 1,000 are non-smokers. Health Canada, through the federal Tobacco Control Strategy, focuses on four mutually-reinforcing directions: protection, prevention, cessation and harm reduction/product modification.

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