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New data show health care providers increasingly Ask, Advise and Assist smokers in quitting

Written By Editor on 12/30/21 | 12/30/21

Albany, NY: New NYS Department of Health data show an increase in health care providers working with patients to quit smoking. 

More than three-quarters of smokers who saw their provider in 2019 reported that their doctor advised them to quit smoking—a 12.5% increase from 2014. More than half reported that their doctor offered assistance to quit—a 23.3% increase from 2014. Smokers who receive assistance from their physicians double their odds of successfully quitting.

Dr. Ronald Pope, Columbia Memorial Health Vice President of Medical Services, Care Centers, said: “Helping patients to stop smoking is an important goal for our care team. CMH providers can offer several options to help smokers kick the habit and improve their health and quality of life.”

Despite the increased communication around the health effects of smoking, there is still more work to be done. The Twin Counties’ adult smoking rate was a third higher than the statewide average in 2018. Smoking rates are particularly high among New Yorkers of low socio-economic status, lower education and those with behavioral health issues. 

Columbia County Mental Health Center integrated questions about clients’ smoking status into their intake process in 2019. 

“Forty percent of all cigarettes in the United States are consumed by individuals who live with mental illness or substance abuse disorders,” Tobacco Cessation Specialist Rose Aulino said. “Because of that, nicotine dependence has been a real focus of treatment for us. The results have been encouraging.” 

Smokers that are interested in quitting are encouraged to talk to their healthcare provider about what nicotine replacement therapy and/or counseling options are available. You can also call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-697-8487 to receive free nicotine patches and be connected with a quit coach. 

Tobacco-Free Action of Columbia & Greene Counties is a nonprofit organization funded by the NYS Department of Health that advocates for policy change to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, make tobacco products less visible and accessible, and make tobacco use more expensive, less convenient, and less socially acceptable.

Columbia Memorial Health is an advanced multi-specialty healthcare system serving more than 100,000 residents in Columbia, Greene and Dutchess counties at more than 40 primary care and specialty care centers. In addition, CMH’s inpatient hospital, located in Hudson, has served our region since 1893 and is one of the most innovative and technically advanced facilities in the Hudson Valley. Columbia Memorial Health, Albany Med, Saratoga Hospital and Glens Falls Hospital are part of the Albany Med Health System, the largest locally governed health system in the region. Learn more at

To learn more about the Columbia County Mental Health Center and the services offered, please visit

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