Aria Community Health Centers in the Central Valley Offer New Resources to Help Patients Quit Tobacco

A new referral system to tobacco cessation services will help increase participation and improve outcomes 

January 19, 2023

Fresno, Calif. –  Aria Community Health Center (ACHC) facilities across the Central Valley have recently adopted a proactive referral system to better connect patients with the resources they need to quit tobacco use.   

In partnership with Kick It California, and with assistance from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s Voices Inspiring Valley Action (VIVA) project, ACHC clinics adopted a proactive electronic referral system to Kick It California to enroll patients in evidence-based tobacco cessation strategies and treatments.  

“This approach, where the patient does not have to initiate the call, leads to a significantly higher rate of participation than simply advising the patient to quit. We are talking about 40% versus 2%,” said Emily Aughinbaugh, Kick It California project director.   

ACHC facilities also implemented a smoke-free and tobacco-free policy that protects patients, staff and visitors from secondhand smoke and provides a safe environment to support efforts to stop using tobacco.  

Drafted in collaboration with the VIVA project, the new policy prohibits the use of tobacco in any form – including e-cigarettes – on all property owned, leased or under the control of ACHC. Smoking and tobacco products must be extinguished and properly disposed of before entering an ACHC campus or exiting personal vehicles.  

“We commend ACHC for its leadership in bolstering public health and are proud to partner with them in this effort to tackle tobacco use,” said Dulce Velazquez, VIVA project director. “The Central Valley has some of the highest tobacco use rates in the state. Smoking is a leading risk factor for lung cancer and our California rural communities have higher rates of lung cancer. Smoke-free and tobacco-free policies are key to address health inequities in our area.”   

The policy – in conjunction with the electronic referral and educational materials – will create a supportive environment for those trying to quit, while protecting everyone’s right to breathe clean, smoke-free air.  

“We look forward to working with other federally qualified health centers to support the adoption of a smoke-free and tobacco-free policy and tobacco cessation referral services,” stated Velazquez.   

Free resources on quitting smoking can be found at To learn more about VIVA’s efforts to help prevent cancer through community education, engagement and empowerment, visit   

Media Contacts

Priscilla Cabral-Perez
Regional Multicultural Media Advocacy Associate Director