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Systems Change & Behavioral Health Initiatives


The transformation of healthcare throughout our country has created new opportunities to implement systematic changes to reduce tobacco use, improve overall health, and enhance services, all while reducing healthcare costs. As promoted by the CDC’s Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs, GNAHEC works closely with local healthcare organizations to assist with the institutionalization of tobacco cessation interventions into routine clinical care. This process helps to ensure that every patient is screened for tobacco use, are advised to quit, and provided with the support and resources needed to stop using tobacco.

GNAHEC can provide support to organizations with their delivery system design, referral process, clinical information on tobacco cessation, as well as standardizing and delivering regular tobacco cessation education and training to the organization’s staff.

Quit Smoking & Tobacco Resources for Healthcare Providers

Hospitals and/or clinics in Florida can request their own automated referral form to electronically submit referrals for patients who are ready to quit within the next 30 days. Please click the link below for more details on the automated AHEC referral form.

Link to visit for more in-office resources for healthcare providers:

Behavioral Health Initiatives

According to new findings from researchers at the CDC, Americans with mental health conditions have a 70% greater likelihood of smoking than the general population. Participation in tobacco cessation efforts, while engaged in other substance abuse treatment, has been associated with a 25% greater likelihood of long-term abstinence from alcohol and other drugs. GNAHEC works with behavioral health sites in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties to provide cessation services to help clients quit using tobacco and support their recovery efforts.

Offering Continuing Education to Practicing Healthcare Providers & Training Health Professional Students

As part of the Tobacco Free Florida AHEC Cessation Program, GNAHEC offers educational programs based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs and on the Clinical Guidelines for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The primary goal of these continuing education programs is to strengthen the capacity of the healthcare system throughout our counties to deliver effective evidence-based tobacco use treatment and cessation services. GNAHEC offers a variety of educational options for healthcare providers to obtain FREE continuing education credits and to become proficient in delivering effective tobacco cessation care to their patients.

GNAHEC offers the following programs:

Free Tobacco Online Modules

The Tobacco Free Florida AHEC Cessation Program also offers healthcare providers and health professions students access to a suite of online tobacco cessation education modules. These are readily available providing various CE/CME credits at no cost. Over 18+ educational modules are offered to receive the latest information about tobacco cessation and treatment. Most courses listed are in audio/visual format and approximately 60 minutes in length, making it time-efficient for our busy healthcare providers.

Importance to Healthcare Insurers

Health insurance coverage of tobacco cessation treatment increases both use of effective treatment and the number of successful quit attempts.1 The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) report Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: A Clinical Practice Guideline, recommends that healthcare insurers should “include [effective] smoking cessation treatments (both pharmacotherapy and counseling)…as paid services for all subscribers.”2,3 In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took a major step to address the significant human life and financial costs of tobacco use in the U.S. by requiring insurance companies and employers to cover tobacco cessation treatment services recommended in the USPHS guidelines with no cost sharing. Unfortunately, private insurance coverage for tobacco cessation services is still relatively uncommon.4