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Health Care Organizations Should Integrate Tobacco Screening and Treatment into Adolescent Standard Clinical Care to Assist the Nearly 25 Percent of All High School Seniors that Currently Use Tobacco.1

New York, NY – This Wednesday March 16th marks the 10th anniversary of Kick Butts Day — a national day of activism focused on educating youth about the dangers of tobacco use and encouraging youth to stand up to Big Tobacco. Hosted by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Kick Butts Day encourages youth to reject tobacco industry’s targeted youth marketing and supports proven strategies to prevent youth tobacco use, which includes: advocating for higher tobacco taxes, applying smoke-free laws, and implementing prevention and cessation programs.

According to a 2015 publication released by the American Academy of Pediatrics, youth still are disproportionately impacted by tobacco use, with more than 3.6 million current youth tobacco users in the US.2 Of those current users, more than 80 percent will continue using tobacco as adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if tobacco use among youth continues at current rates, 5.6 million of Americans currently under 18 years will die prematurely from tobacco-related illnesses.3 Youth with low socioeconomic status (SES) have a higher prevalence of tobacco use than youth with higher SES - a variance that contributes to persistent disparities in health outcomes in adulthood.4

The Center of Excellence for Health Systems Improvement for a Tobacco-Free New York (COE for HSI) encourages health care providers to screen and provide tobacco dependence treatment to all New Yorkers, including adolescents, by integrating tobacco cessation treatment into standard clinical care. The COE for HSI supports this effort by working with ten regional contractors across New York State to implement policy and systems changes in health care organizations that serve populations that use tobacco at disparate rates by integrating evidence-based best practices for tobacco dependence treatment into routine care. Health care organizations have an opportunity to help individuals, including youth, gain access to tobacco dependence treatment to decrease tobacco use rates in New York State. “We strongly encourage health care organizations to use Kick Butts Day as a day of action to make tobacco cessation among adolescents a priority,” said Marcy Hager, Project Director of COE for HSI. “This effort will ensure that another generation does not have to suffer the high consequences of tobacco use on their generation’s overall health.”

To learn more about Kick Butts Day activities across New York, visit

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

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015, October 14). Youth and Tobacco Use. Retrieved from
2. American Academy of Pediatrics, Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence Tobacco Consortium. (2015, April) State-of-the-Art Office-Based Interventions to Eliminate Youth Tobacco Use: The Past Decade. Pediatrics, Volume 135/Issue 4.
3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention.
4. Tobacco Control Legal Consortium (2012). Cause and Effect: Tobacco Marketing Increases Youth Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the 2012 Surgeon General's Report. St. Paul, MN: Tobacco Control Legal Consortium.

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.