January 27, 2016

Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson named 2015 Tobacco-Free Community Champion

PPMH promotes tobacco-free living and health equity by making all properties tobacco-free

– The Capital District Tobacco-Free Coalition, in partnership with four other area Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities programs, named Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson (PPMH) a New York State 2015 Tobacco-Free Community Champion. As of January 1, 2016, all PPMH properties became tobacco-free, including ten health clinics located in eight NYS counties, a decision that promotes tobacco-free living and health equity for their employees and patients.

“The success of our efforts to build healthy, tobacco-free communities where people live, learn, work and play relies on partners like Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson,” said Theresa Zubretsky of the Capital District Tobacco-Free Coalition. “By going tobacco-free, PPMH prevents harmful secondhand smoke exposure, raises awareness of the health impact of tobacco use, and makes it easier for tobacco users who want to quit to do so successfully.  The impact of a tobacco-free PPMH is particularly significant due to the disproportionately high rate of tobacco use among the patients they serve, those with the least education and income.”

“Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson is proud to have earned recognition from the Capital District Tobacco-free Coalition that honors the hard work our staff have done to set a healthy example for the communities we serve,” said Kim Atkins, CEO Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson. “With the help of the Coalition, PPMH hopes to be a leader in supporting a tobacco-free lifestyle for employees, patients, and other businesses in the Capital District.”

“As the number one cause of preventable death and disease in the Capital Region, tobacco use poses a major barrier to improving the health and wellness of our communities,” said Bethany Gilboard, CEO Alliance for Better Health Care. “As the Capital District begins to focus on population health, the importance of community resources like the Capital District Tobacco-Free Coalition and organizations like Planned Parenthood becomes even more apparent. Alliance for Better Health Care applauds their efforts and strongly encourages more organizations and leaders to join the effort to decrease the use of tobacco in our communities.”

While NYS tobacco control strategies have been very successful in reducing the overall smoking rate to an all-time low of 14.4%,[i] smoking rates have remained persistently high among people with lower incomes and fewer years of education, a tobacco use health disparity that results in significantly worse health outcomes for people with low-socioeconomic status.[ii] Low-SES smokers are less likely to work in a tobacco-free workplace,[iii] less likely to be encouraged by their health care provider to quit,[iv] and more likely to live in a neighborhood overrun by tobacco marketing.[v] Creating tobacco-free spaces in low-income neighborhoods or at sites that provide services to community members with the least education and income, provides the same kinds of support that have proved so successful in helping others end their addiction to tobacco.

The Community Champion distinction was awarded to PPMH on behalf of five Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities contractors in the communities in which the PPMH clinics and other properties are located: The Capital District Tobacco-Free Coalition (Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady Counties); Glens Falls Hospital Living Tobacco-Free Initiative (Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties); Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities of Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery Counties; Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities of Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties; and BRiDGES Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities of Oneida, Herkimer and Madison Counties.

[i] Center for Disease Control: BRFSS Prevalence and Trends Data:

[ii] Bureau of Tobacco Control,  StatShot Vol. 8, No. 2/Feb 2015, accessed on DATE,

[iii] Ham, DC, et al., “Occupation and Workplace Policies Predict Smoking Behaviors: Analysis of National Data from the Current Population Survey,” J Occup Environ Med, 53(11):1337-1345, November 2011

[iv] American Legacy. Tobacco Control in Low SES Populations. Sept. 2010.
iv Seidenberg, A., Caughey, R., Rees, V., & Connolly, G. “Storefront Cigarette Advertising Differs by Community Demographic Profile.” American Journal of Health Promotion. 2010 Jul-Aug; 24(6): e26 – e31.