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Media Release: Attempting to quit smoking or vaping is more important than ever

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/January 19, 2021 – This National Non-Smoking Week, Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is reminding tobacco users and vapers that quitting takes practice…so practice often! Even if pandemic related stress has impacted your plans to quit, don’t be discouraged. It may take between 7 and 30 attempts before being able to break the addiction for good, so if at first you don’t succeed, try again! Your perseverance will pay off, since quitting smoking or vaping is one of the best things a person can do for their health.

Making a quit attempt is more important than ever. As respiratory viruses such as COVID-19 impact an individual’s lungs, quitting smoking or vaping can help reduce your chances of experiencing more severe symptoms of these illnesses. Recent research has concluded that if smokers become sick with COVID-19, they are more likely to have worse symptoms, be admitted to an ICU, and pass away as compared to non-smokers.  Smoking and vaping may also increase chances of contracting COVID-19 or other viruses, since smoking requires individuals to remove their mask and also increases hand to mouth contact. In addition, the benefits of quitting can be experienced within 20 minutes after your last cigarette and can continue to be seen for up to 15 years.

Even though HPEPH is offering limited in-person services at the current time due pandemic response requirements, additional supports and services remain available to help people quit.

  • Trained quit specialists are available by calling Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.
  • Online resources can be found at where you can also chat with a trained quit coach.
  • Canadian Addictions and Mental Health also offers a STOP on the Net program, which offers online support and 4 weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy
  • Youth friendly support is available at, and local high school students can contact their school Public Health Nurse to discuss quit options. School nurses remain available during remote schooling. Contact your guidance office to learn more.

For more information about any of these support resources, you can contact HPEPH’s  Tobacco Talk Line at 613-966-5500 ext.600, visit or


Media contacts
Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist

Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist

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Individuals turning 12 and over in 2021 are currently eligible to book a first dose appointment. Individuals aged 70 and over as well as anyone who received their first vaccine on or before April 18th are now eligible to book their second dose on an accelerated schedule. To book, visit or call  1-833-943-3900.

There is currently a high demand for vaccination appointments in our region. If no appointments are available, please follow us on Facebook or Twitter to be notified when new clinic dates are added. Please do not call HPEPH to book. For more information, please visit

If you attended a clinic and did not receive an email copy of your vaccination receipt you can download a copy off the provincial booking site at


Individuals 18 and over can also receive their vaccination at participating local pharmacies. Select pharmacies are also offering vaccinations to youth aged 12 – 17. Please visit for location and registration information.


Based on the provincewide vaccination rate and continuing improvements in key public health and health system indicators, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, will move the province into Step One of its Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 11, 2021. For more information, read the media release.

While the provincial Stay at Home Order has been lifted, public health precautions must be maintained. Close contact must be limited to those within your household. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 5 people, and distancing must be maintained. For more information, visit our COVID-19 page.


If you are concerned about potential exposure to a positive case of COVID-19, please be reassured that any contacts of a confirmed case will be contacted directly and monitored by public health.

Low-risk and indirect contacts should self monitor for symptoms for 14 days from the time of potential exposure and seek testing if symptoms develop. Low risk contacts do not need to isolate unless symptoms develop, and can continue to attend school/work/daycare while monitoring for symptoms.