Tobacco Control Initiative

Since 2004, the Louisiana Tobacco Control Initiative (LA-TCI), housed within the LSU Health – New Orleans, School of Public Health, Behavioral and Community Health Sciences Program, has promoted a multi-level, translational, and transdisciplinary approach to cessation services and research. Grounded by the US Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guideline for Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence, the LA-TCI employs the aforementioned approach at the recommended system, clinic and patient levels of healthcare. The initiative receives support funding from the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium.


Position the LA-TCI as a national leader in the creation and application of knowledge through health systems services and research benefiting Louisianans.


Provide care for the most medically vulnerable residents, including low-income, under- and uninsured, less educated, and minority populations.


Reduce the burden of tobacco use in state health care systems by:

  1. Identifying all tobacco users at partner sites;
  2. Identifying appropriate and acceptable evidence-based interventions for tobacco users;
  3. Cost effectively providing those interventions to tobacco users, when possible;
  4. Continuously evaluating the initiative for quality improvement; and
  5. Conducting research to improve population health

​Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists staffed by the LA-TCI at partner health systems provide the following treatments:

  • Self-help material;
  • Behavioral counseling (one-on-one and group);
  • Cessation medication;
  • Referral to the Louisiana quit-line for telephone support counseling; and
  • Referral to the Smoking Cessation Trust (SCT) program, which provides free cessation services for any Louisiana resident who began smoking before September 1, 1988.

Dr. Michael D. Celestin Jr, Assistant Professor in the LSUHSC SPH BCHS Department, currently directs the LA-TCI’s efforts. For more than 17 years, Dr. Celestin has worked toward tobacco prevention and cessation in Louisiana, leading the development, implementation, and evaluation of a broad range of cancer control, tobacco prevention, and cessation interventions. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Interpersonal and Public Communication at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, his master’s degree in Human Performance and Health Promotion at the University of New Orleans, and his doctorate degree in Public (Health) Policy at Southern University Baton Rouge. He is also a certified Health Education and Tobacco Treatment Specialist.

Established by Dr. Sarah Moody-Thomas, TCI Program Director Emeritus, Dr. Celestin now leads the LA-TCI’s transdisciplinary team of behavioral scientists, program developers and evaluators, tobacco treatment specialists, project managers and public health interns supported by health system administrators, physicians, nurses and quality improvement specialists. Services provided by the LA-TCI since 2004 include:

  • Over 9,000 smokers counseled on problem-solving, skill building, and intra-treatment support for quitting smoking
  • More than 10,000 smokers referred for additional cessation services through the state Quit-line and the Smoking Cessation Trust
  • Over 10,000 healthcare providers trained on evidence-based practices to treat tobacco use and dependence

The LA-TCI proudly acknowledges its receipt of the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems Award for Using Health Information Technology to Improve System-wide Identification and Documentation of Treatment for Tobacco Use. LA-TCI cessation services have produced more than a 7% annual tobacco use quit rate among hard to reach smokers in Louisiana, including those of low-income, less educated, and from racial minority groups. The initiative has disseminated findings through manuscripts, a case study, book chapters, a podcast, and several scientific posters and local, state, and national conferences.

To learn more about the LA-TCI, contact Dr. Michael D. Celestin, Jr. at