Patrick Kwan, Senior Director of Advocacy and Communications for the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC), has been appointed by New York State Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie to the state’s Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Advisory Board.
As a new board member and public officer, Kwan will help advise New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker on tobacco control issues. He was nominated by Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal, chair of the Assembly’s Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee and a member of the Health Committee.
Established in 2000 by statute in New York State Public Health Law, the board offers guidance on issues relating to the development, implementation, and evaluation of the New York State Bureau of Tobacco Control, including its program activities, legislative opportunities, and budget. The statewide program — one of the nation’s largest — utilizes an evidence-based, policy-driven approach to reduce illness, disability, and death from tobacco use through proven policy, health systems change, and health communication strategies.
“New York’s tobacco control program serves a crucial role in protecting lives and alleviating the enormous health care costs and burdens caused by tobacco products,” said Kwan. “I thank Speaker Heastie and Assembly Member Rosenthal for this opportunity to serve on the New York State Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Advisory Board and look forward to supporting efforts to engage communities and health systems for a tobacco-free New York.”
Kwan leads PCDC’s policy and communications team to advocate for expanding and increasing primary care access and investments to build healthier, more equitable communities. He has partnered with various advocacy groups, community partners, and local, national, and international government entities to advance model tobacco control and smoke-free policies.
Before joining PCDC, he was Director of NYC Smoke-Free, where he led high-profile and successful campaigns to limit tobacco retail proliferation as well as expand smoke-free housing, tobacco-free outdoor spaces, and engagement of communities disparately affected by tobacco, including youth, people of color, LGBTQ, and low-income communities. His tobacco control work has been featured in many major media outlets including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek and at national academic forums including The National Conference on Tobacco or Health (NCTOH) and the American Public Health Association’s annual APHA Meeting and Expo.
Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States and in New York. About 28,000 adult New Yorkers die every year as a result of smoking.