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In New York, more than 28,000 adults die annually from smoking related diseases

New York, NY – This week, more than 30 tobacco control programs from across the state will head to Albany to meet with lawmakers about the deadly impact of tobacco use on New York’s most vulnerable populations. Killing more than 28,000 New Yorkers every year, tobacco use continues to be the #1 preventable cause of death in the United States. At the annual Legislative Day on Tuesday, February 9, programs will educate legislators on the necessity of New York’s Tobacco Control Program. Among them will be CAI’s Center of Excellence for Health Systems Improvement for a Tobacco-Free New York, which will focus on the importance of promoting large-scale systems and policy changes to support the universal provision of evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment services.
Although tobacco use has declined in recent years among the general population, data indicates significant disparities in tobacco use prevalence among those New York adults with less than a high school education, low incomes, and serious mental illness—populations that continue to use tobacco at rates well above the general population. The mission of comprehensive tobacco control programs is to reduce the health disparities that tobacco use causes by establishing infrastructure and building capacity regionally, and to reduce barriers to individuals seeking treatment and promote tobacco-free environments.

“The COE for HSI and ten regional contractors are working to decrease the disparities in tobacco use prevalence by promoting the integration of evidence-based tobacco dependence screening and treatment into routine care within medical and behavioral health care organizations,” said Marcy Hager, Project Director of the Center of Excellence for Health System Improvement. “Although there has been significant progress in decreasing tobacco rates in the general population, work to ensure that disparate populations have access to tobacco dependence treatment and resources is essential in continuing to see overall declines in tobacco prevalence in New York.”

Led by Hager, the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Tobacco Control-funded program will participate in the day’s activities by meeting with elected officials to explain the importance of supporting health systems improvements related to tobacco dependence treatment within health care organizations. Such improvements will ensure that every patient is screened for tobacco use, and all tobacco users are offered evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment on a regular basis. New York State legislators are invited to visit Conference Room C of the Empire State Plaza Concourse at 2:00 p.m., where representatives of Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities (Community Engagement and Reality Check) and Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York will be joined by volunteer youth leaders to answer questions and offer resources about effective tobacco control programs being delivered across the state.

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

1. The Toll of Tobacco in New York; Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; Updated September 25, 2015.
2. Bureau of Tobacco Control StatShot, Vol. 8, No. 2/Feb 2015, based on New York State Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2013.
3. Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs, 2014, Section A: State and Community Interventions, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

About CAI: CAI is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of underserved populations worldwide. For more than 35 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, visit


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.