Queens smoking cessation program to no longer receive state grant money: sources


State funds to aid programs helping smokers put an end to their habit are calling it quits in Queens.

The Queens Courier has learned that Queens Quits, a partnership between the Queens Health Network, the American Cancer Society and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, will no longer receive grant money from the New York State Department of Health (DOH).

Queens Quits is one of the state DOH’s Tobacco Control Program Cessation Networks, and continued funding would allow it to keep reaching out to over 6,000 health care providers in the borough, asking patients about tobacco usage and providing interventions, training, materials and feedback.

From 2005 to present, Queens Quits has conducted 346 trainings and has collaborated with 6,073 health care partakers including physicians, nurses and dentists, sources told The Courier. Also for the past five years the New York State Smokers’ Quitline for the New York metro area has gotten 3,236 referrals from Queens, compared to 2,288 from Manhattan, 2,102 from Brooklyn and 1,700 from the Bronx, sources said.

Instead, NYU Medical Center will now receive the funds for the city and will manage all the outer boroughs out of a Manhattan office, a source told The Courier.

“Though disappointed in losing its grant, Queens Cancer Center and Queens Hospital remain committed to reducing smoking in Queens, and will continue to support smoking cessation efforts in any way possible,” the Queens Cancer Center of Queens Hospital said in a statement.

According to the state DOH, the 2014 Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York grants were awarded based on a competitive Request for Applications (RFA) process.

Applications were requested from “organizations that will work to engage health care systems to improve the delivery of guideline-concordant care for tobacco dependence through systems and policy change at the organizational level.”

Following a comprehensive review of all applications, awards were made to organizations that best met these criteria, the NYS DOH said in a statement.