11 | 19 | 2015

UCHC Becomes an Official TFO Organization and Urges Bronx Residents To “Quit Like A Champion”

In Collaboration With NYC Smoke-Free, UCHC To Host 2015 Great American Smokeout

Vonetta Dudley
Phone: (646)-342-6923
Email: vdudley@healthsolutions.org

Bronx, NY – As the nation celebrates the Great American Smokeout this week and Thanksgiving next Thursday, Bronx residents can be thankful that Union Community Health Center (UCHC) is implementing a Tobacco Free Outdoor Policy which will benefit patients, staff and all who visit the Health Center. This is in addition to smoking cessation programs already being offered at UCHC. In collaboration with NYC Smoke-Free and support from Senator Gustavo Rivera’s office, a celebration will take place marking this milestone decision, with a special anti-smoking rap performance by local Bronx Youth who participate in the Bronx Reality Check Program.

Forty-two million (42,000,000) Americans are current smokers. In New York City there are 898,000 current smokers of which 156,000 are Bronx residents.  In NYC, 21,000 public high school students smoke cigarettes with 3,000 of those students residing in Bronx students.  

“Although we have long known the health risk of secondhand smoke, many smokers still decided to light up in areas that are supposed to be healthy environments not only endangering their own health, but the public’s as well,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “Two of my bills that have been signed into law have created smoke-free zones around educational institutions and it is inspiring to see local health centers, like UCHC, taking the initiative to reduce the public’s exposure to the dangers of secondhand smoke at their facilities. As a community, we have a responsibility to pursue every avenue that reduces smoking and smoking-related illnesses among our residents.”  

“Smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the nation and in NYC, and we at NYC Smoke-Free, applaud Union Community Health Center for taking a bold step in keeping Bronx residents healthy, free of second hand tobacco smoke,” said Guillermo Flores, Community Engagement Coordinator for NYC Smoke-Free.

The tobacco epidemic is affecting many vulnerable populations including our youth. More than 200,000 children in NYC are still exposed to secondhand smoke at home.

“Ninety percent of adult smokers start before the age of 18.  We need to do more to help lower these rates and stop tobacco companies from targeting our kids” said Vonetta Dudley, Bronx Youth Engagement Coordinator of NYC Smoke-Free.  

“The Bronx has one of the highest rates of smoking in NYC and as medical professionals, it is our responsibility to lower these numbers and support healthier outcomes across the Bronx,” said Dr. Douglas York, CEO of Union Community Health Center. “Instituting a Tobacco Free Outdoors policy will benefit staff and patients but more importantly through policy, advocacy and education UCHC is protecting the health of the community we serve.”

For more information on Public Health Solutions’ NYC Smoke-Free program or to lend support in ending NYC’s devastating tobacco epidemic, please visit www.NYCSmokeFree.org or follow us on social media at facebook.com/NYCSmokeFree or Twitter @NYCSmokeFree.


Reality Check - a student led, adult supported program for those between the ages of 13 through 18. The statewide program is composed of multiple student run chapters’ across New York State. Each chapter works to expose the deceptive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry through education, advocacy outreach and media campaigns. For more information, go to www.reailtycheckofny.com.

NYC Smoke-Free - a program of Public Health Solutions, NYC Smoke-Free works to protect the health of New Yorkers through tobacco control policy, advocacy, and education. Formerly the NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City, we partner with community members, legislators, and health advocates to support local efforts to end the devastating tobacco epidemic throughout NYC. We believe every New Yorker has the right to breathe clean, smoke-free air where they live, work and play.

Public Health Solutions - As one of the largest public health service nonprofit organizations in New York City, Public Health Solutions improves health among the city’s most vulnerable populations by tackling social, physical, and environmental factors that impact New Yorkers’ ability to thrive. Today PHS serves 200,000+ New Yorkers annually, and we support the work of more than 600 community-based nonprofit organizations. We implement innovative, cost-effective population-based health programs; conduct research providing insight on effective public health interventions; and provide services to government and other nonprofits to address public health issues. Together with our colleagues in the service sector, government, philanthropy and policy organizations, we are thought leaders and cutting-edge public health professionals in New York City and New York State. To learn more, please visit us at www.healthsolutions.org.

Union Community Health Center -  a not-for-profit Federally Qualified Health Center, Union Community Health Center (Union) provides approximately 180,000 medical, dental and physical rehabilitation visits each year to approximately 40,000 individual patients at its five locations in the Bronx. Union’s mission is to provide comprehensive, culturally competent primary and preventive health care services to improve the health and decrease health disparities of the medically underserved populations in the Bronx, providing services to all regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or the ability to pay.  To learn more about Union Community Health Center, visit www.uchcbronx.org.