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New York, NY – The Center of Excellence for Health Systems Improvement (COE for HSI) for a Tobacco-Free New York is marking World Heart Day on September 29 with an appeal to all New York State health care providers to make the screening and treatment of tobacco dependence a primary strategy for reducing cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in New York State and the U.S. Diseases of the heart were the underlying cause of 30 percent of deaths in New York State in 2012. 1

World Heart Day is an opportune time to remind New York’s physicians, nurses, and other health care providers that tobacco use and secondhand smoke are major contributors to heart disease. Quitting tobacco use is a key step that individuals can take to improve their heart health.

The COE for HSI encourages health care providers to ask, assist, and advise their patients about tobacco use and utilize counseling and medication—proven tools to support patients with quitting. The way to assure this takes place is through systems that standardize tobacco dependence screening and treatment into care delivery, regardless of the reason for the patient’s visit.

“There is such focus on preventing and treating cardiovascular disease, and a definite way to protect New Yorkers from diseases of the heart is by addressing tobacco use,” said Elizabeth Jones, Director of the COE for HSI, a project of CAI. “We strongly encourage health care providers and the systems in which they work to make tobacco cessation a priority.”

For more information about the work of the COE for HSI, visit

About CAI: CAI is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of underserved populations worldwide. For 36 years CAI has provided customized capacity building services to health and human service organizations in over 27 countries and in all 50 states. Offering over 1,500 training programs annually, CAI’s passionate staff works to fulfill its mission: to use the transformative power of education and research to foster a more aware, healthy, compassionate and equitable world. For more information about CAI, visit our website:

About the Center of Excellence for Health Systems Improvement: With funding from the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control, CAI serves as the Center of Excellence for Health Systems Improvement (COE for HSI) for a Tobacco-Free New York. The COE for HSI promotes large-scale systems and policy changes to support the universal provision of evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment services. The COE for HSI aims to support 10 regional contractors throughout New York State working with health care systems and organizations that serve those populations for which tobacco use prevalence rates have not decreased in recent years - adults with low incomes, less than a high school diploma, and/or serious mental illness. Focused on providing capacity-building assistance services around topics like how to engage and obtain buy-in from leadership to implement the kinds of systems-level changes that will result in identification and intervention with every tobacco user who seeks care, the COE for HSI also will offer materials and resources to support contractors in their regional work. For more information, click here to visit the project website.


1 Sharp MJ, Schoen LD, Wang T, Melnik TA. Leading causes of death, New York State, 2012. New York State Department of Health, Office of Quality and Patient Safety, Bureau of Vital Statistics. Accessed 24 September 2015 at:

This website was developed with funding provided by the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Tobacco Control to CAI. Its contents are solely the responsibility of CAI and do not necessarily represent the official views of the New York State Department of Health.