FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is investing $120,000 to reduce tobacco usage in the province. Take Action on Tobacco Use is a new grant program that was launched at an event held at Fredericton High School recognizing National Non-Smoking Week.

“Our government is committed to developing a comprehensive strategy for a smoke-free New Brunswick, with a particular focus on reducing youth smoking,” said Healthy and Inclusive Communities Minister Cathy Rogers. “This new program will emphasize youth-led initiatives to increase tobacco-free living by engaging youth to plan, lead and participate in activities that are meaningful to them. It will also support community-led initiatives that build partnerships and create tobacco-free environments.”

The program will provide grants of up to $5,000 to eligible applicants to support tobacco-free living by communities, organizations, schools and workplaces.

Tobacco use remains a significant cause of premature disease, disability and death in New Brunswick. Tobacco use costs New Brunswick hundreds of millions of dollars each year in direct and indirect costs. Living tobacco-free means: avoiding exposure to tobacco-smoke, not starting to use tobacco, and if currently using tobacco, quitting.

“Continued progress to reduce tobacco usage requires long-term sustained effort from schools, communities, organizations, workplaces and homes in New Brunswick and continued partnership with other jurisdictions,” said Rogers. “Our government believes in a province with strong families, which means developing programs like Take Action on Tobacco Use, that promote healthy environments and healthy people, and in particular, healthy young people.”

The grant program complements the government’s commitment to expand the Smoke-free Places Act to ban smoking in public places frequented by children such as entrances to public buildings, outdoor restaurant patios, public parks and beaches, playgrounds and sports fields.

Applications for the program are now available through the Department of Healthy and Inclusive Communities website or by phoning 506-453-4217.