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Offering Cessation Resources to Tobacco Users Is Critical at Each Visit

New York, NY – The annual Great American Smokeout (GASO) is November 19th, and encourages tobacco users to quit, even just for one day. Healthcare providers have an opportunity to help their patients quit every day. Encouraging patients to quit tobacco is an important first step to improving their overall health. In New York, tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventive death, leading to more than 25,000 deaths annually. 1

GASO creates an opportunity to focus the nation’s attention on the need for increased access to treatment among tobacco users and the need to decrease barriers to treatment in health care settings. GASO highlights the necessity of ensuring that all tobacco users are screened and offered treatment by providing patients a combination of counseling and pharmacology to increase the likelihood of successfully quitting.

The Center of Excellence for Health Systems Improvement for a Tobacco-Free New York (COE for HSI) is working across New York State with regional contractors to engage health care providers and work with them to implement sustainable systems changes that ensure tobacco dependence screening and treatment are continuously integrated into all patient visits, minimizing missed opportunities for lifesaving tobacco cessation treatment. In fact, more than 70 percent of tobacco users visit a health care provider each year, and each of these visits is an opportunity for intervention. 2

“The Great American Smokeout has been encouraging people to quit since 1977. Health systems can continue this great work every day by putting systems in place whereby all patients are offered high-quality evidence-based nicotine dependence treatment, including pharmacology,” said Marcy Hager, Director of the COE for HSI.

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 more than 27 countries and in all 50 states. Offering more than 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] New York State Department of Health, “Focus Area 2: Reduce illness, Disability and Death Related to Tobacco use and Secondhand Smoke Exposure.” (Accessed November 17, 2015).
[2] Fiore et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 2008.

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.