Ontario encourages smokers to butt out as Canadians mark Weedless Wednesday TORONTO, Jan. 17 Health and Long-Term Care Minister Elizabeth Witmer today offered words of encouragement to Ontario smokers who plan to remain smoke-free on Weedless Wednesday, and reminded them of the programs that are available year-round to help them become non-smokers. "Last year we more than doubled our investment in prevention and education projects to $19 million, up from $9 million, ensuring that proper community supports are available to those who wish to quit smoking," said Witmer. "Whether you're a teenager, or a senior citizen, there are programs in place not only on Weedless Wednesday, but all year long to help you quit smoking." Last year's funding increase included grants that were awarded across Ontario for eight community-based initiatives, which are currently underway. "Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness and premature death in Ontario, killing 12,000 people across the province each year," added Witmer. "Our government is committed to lowering these numbers." Weedless Wednesday has been a focal point of National Non-Smoking Week almost since it began, more than 20 years ago. Its focus is on the benefits of cessation and the community resources available to help smokers quit. The idea behind Weedless Wednesday is to promote a "one day at a time" approach to quitting smoking, a concept appealing to many smokers who may be discouraged at the thought of an entire week -- or lifetime -- without cigarettes, but who may be able to cope with one smoke-free day. Joanna <-- doesn't want to lose anyone else in her life to lung cancer and hopes a certain someone reads this.