Summit in Buffalo Will Help More Workers in New York State to Quit for Good

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Free Summit Kicks off Statewide Initiative to Increase Access to Smoking-Cessation Programs in the Workplace

BUFFALO, NY — The first of three statewide ActionToQuit summits is coming to Buffalo Tuesday, September 28. Free to attend, this collaboration with the New York State Smokers’ Quitline and the New York State Department of Health, to be held from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at WNED-TV studios, will bring local, regional and statewide businesses and health plans together. Input from these broad-based forums will be used to develop a model plan that will help employers across the state to provide smoking-cessation resources for their employees.

David Zauche, Senior Project Officer for the Partnership for Prevention, will serve as keynote speaker, providing an overview of the federal healthcare reform program and its impact on tobacco-use cessation benefits. Among the organizations planning to participate are BlueCross BlueShield; Excellus; Gold Choice; Health Now; MVP Health; Wegmans; and the Rochester Institute of Technology.

“In New York State, the annual smoking-related healthcare costs and lost productivity total $14.2 billion annually,” said Patricia Bax, Marketing Coordinator at the New York Smokers’ Quitline, which is based at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and supported by the New York State Department of Health’s Tobacco Control Program. “The ActionToQuit summit will provide businesses with an opportunity to learn how providing smoking-cessation health benefits to employees can save money. Businesses will learn how to help their bottom lines and help their employees to become healthier at the same time.”

The New York State Smokers’ Quitline is spearheading the New York State ActionToQuit project, which is funded by a Partnership for Prevention award. The goal of the summits is to set the framework for having cessation treatment coverage provided as a core benefit through all New York State health plans, ensuring that all commercially insured and Medicaid-insured New York smokers will have access to cessation treatment for their quit attempts.

The daylong Buffalo summit will be held at WNED-TV, 140 Lower Terrace, Horizons Plaza, Buffalo. ActionToQuit summits will follow in Albany (October 5) and New York City (December 1) as part of the first phase of this initiative. Grants (including mini-grants to individual businesses) will be awarded in a second phase in order to implement best practices statewide and nationwide.

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org.

Editor’s note: Business and health plans interested in attending the free ActionToQuit summit can reserve a spot by calling Patricia Bax at 716-845-4365.

Media Contact: 

Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org