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Strong Partnerships are Crucial to Success in Tobacco Control in NC and Beyond

Collaboration, teamwork, partnership, synergy--whatever term you use--can make many tasks seem less daunting and lead to greater success. The medical, behavioral, and public health literature is full of studies demonstrating that shared values and goals--and organizations working together to achieve these goals--are an essential component to community-based tobacco interventions. According to a new article in the North Carolina Medical Journal, "Tobacco use is a tremendous health and economic burden in North Carolina. What works in tobacco control is well known, yet lack of funding stability and preemption by state and local laws continue to be barriers. Strong partnerships and a focus on health equity are keys to greater gains" (

Authors Sally Herndon, Susan M. Kansagra, Courtney Heck, Jim Martin, Ann H. Staples, Joyce Swetlick, Jennifer Park, Stephanie Gans, Luanna McCraw and Alyssa Mouton--all from the NC Division of Public Health--explore the strong NC collaborations that have led to creative strategies for addressing issues such as youth tobacco use and health equity in tobacco treatment: "Our multi-level approach works with diverse partners to implement proven strategies addressing four goals: prevent the initiation of commercial tobacco use including emerging tobacco products and e-cigarettes; promote quitting among adults and young people; eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke; and identify and eliminate tobacco related health disparities among population groups" (

The Duke-UNC Tobacco Treatment Specialist Training Program arose out of this spirit of teamwork. "As we face the challenges and opportunities today to put into place what we can to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy, we are grateful to the partnerships that help lead this journey. The partnerships with the Duke Smoking Cessation Program and the UNC Tobacco Intervention Programs are highly valued collaborations by the Division of Public Health, NC Department of Health and Human Services. What an incredible year to work in public health!" says NC Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch Head and TTS program co-director Sally Herndon.

Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in NC and the US, placing a burden of addiction on the most vulnerable populations. The 2020 Surgeon General's Report on Smoking Cessation ( reports that "while a majority of cigarette smokers make an attempt to quit each year, less than one-third use cessation medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or behavioral counseling to support quit attempts."

The Duke-UNC Tobacco Treatment Specialist Training Program uses an innovative and interactive virtual training format to teach medical, behavioral, and public health professionals to deliver evidence-based tobacco treatment to their patients and populations. "This strategic collaboration allows Duke-UNC TTS to leverage the experience of top-tier researchers, clinicians, educators, and policy makers in our nationally accredited course" (

Visit our website at to learn more or register for an upcoming virtual training.

Read the full NCMJ article here:

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