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Trinity Health and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Partner to Reduce Tobacco Use with Focus on Raising Tobacco Age to 21

April 28, 2016

LIVONIA, MICH. & WASHINGTON, D.C. – Trinity Health, one of the nation’s largest Catholic health systems, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll, announced a new partnership to promote federal, state and local policies that can help reduce tobacco use. The initiative brings together two organizations committed to achieving better health by reducing tobacco use, the nation’s No. 1 preventable cause of death.

Much of the initial work will focus on promoting laws that raise the age of sale of tobacco products to 21. So far, the state of Hawaii and at least 140 cities and counties have enacted such laws. California's similar legislation, passed in March, was supported by both Trinity Health and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and awaits the governor’s signature.

'Trinity Health and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids are people-centered organizations committed to improving wellness,' said Bechara Choucair, M.D., senior vice president for Safety Net and Community Health for Trinity Health. 'With our combined wide reach, resonating advocacy voices and proven expertise and capabilities, we are well positioned to collaborate to help people – especially kids – win in the fight against tobacco and its detrimental health effects.'

A March 2015 report by the prestigious Institute of Medicine concluded that increasing the tobacco sale age would yield substantial public health benefits. The report found that increasing the sale age to 21 would significantly reduce the number of adolescents and young adults who start smoking; reduce smoking-caused deaths; and immediately improve the health of adolescents, young adults and young mothers who would be deterred from smoking.

Under the agreement, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids will produce public educational materials; develop research and written briefs, fact sheets, and white papers; promote coalition development; and conduct advocacy trainings in communities across the country.

'With the support and partnership of Trinity Health, we will promote new opportunities for combating tobacco use across the country, through campaigns like Tobacco 21,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Raising the tobacco age to 21 is a critical step to accelerate progress in the fight against tobacco and make the next generation tobacco-free. Nationally, we know that 95 percent of adult smokers began smoking before they turned 21. So if we can get them to 21 without having smoked, they almost certainly never will.”

Tobacco-Free Kids is one of six participating organizations in Trinity Health’s “Transforming Communities” initiative, an $80 million program focused specifically on policy, systems and environmental changes to improve health and well-being in numerous communities. Groups involved will work with Trinity Health to reduce tobacco use and obesity; achieve better health, better care, and lower costs for high-cost, complex patients, especially vulnerable populations and the poor; reduce health disparities; and enhance community wellness and resiliency.

'Trinity Health has long been an innovative leader in health care delivery. We look forward to a successful and rewarding partnership that will help improve the health and well-being of people in communities across the country,” Myers added.

About The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco. We work to save lives by advocating for public policies that prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke.

About Trinity Health

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 21 states with 90 hospitals, 120 continuing care locations – including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities – that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $15.9 billion and assets of $23.4 billion, the organization returns about $1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity Health employs about 95,000 full-time employees, including 3,900 employed physicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity Health is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services – ranked by number of visits – in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs. For more information, visit You can also follow @TrinityHealthMI on Twitter.