Boston Alliance for Community Health

Initiatives and Activities

"When you add us all up, BACH's membership is in the thousands. Some of us are from the neighborhood and some of us are from an organization. We may not always agree on everything, but in the end, we all want the same thing: safe and healthy communities."

Tobacco Advocacy

My name is Taylor Kimball, and I am a part of the South Boston Youth Ambassadors program at the South Boston Community Health Center, a program in which sixty teens and caring adults combine to increase the function and health of the South Boston community. I have come in support of your proposed regulations to prohibit the sale of single cigars and cigarellos. I am also in support of the amendment to prohibit the use the e-cigarettes in the work place…. Read More »

BACH has been actively involved in efforts to change policy around a range of tobacco issues including youth access to tobacco and other nicotine products. Our efforts and strategies have encouraged the improved environment and health of our communities. Specifically targeting young people, the coalitions work on reducing demand for tobacco products, increasing the demand for smoking cessation services, and expanding smoke-free and tobacco-free spaces. The coalitions worked closely with community partners, including local hospitals and health centers, to address the targeting of youth and those living in minority communities. In partnership with the Boston Public Health Commission, they promoted the free nicotine patch resource and free counseling services of 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

In 2010, the Boston Public Health Commission received a two-year grant totaling $12.5 million from the Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW), a program sponsored by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As part of this effort, BACH received $700,000 over a two year period to support ten community coalitions that focused on tobacco-related issues. These groups include the Allston Brighton Substance Abuse Task Force, the Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition, Chinatown/Asian YES, the Codman Square Neighborhood Council, East Boston Against Substance Abuse, Franklin Field Franklin Hill Dorchester Healthy Boston, the Jamaica Plain Coalition/Hyde Square Task Force, Project RIGHT, the Roxbury Community Alliance for Health, and the South Boston Collaborative Advisory Network.

Participating coalitions engaged their communities in a variety of ways including hosting educational forums about the impact of tobacco and secondhand smoke, handing out literature about smoking cessation at community health days and meeting with city councilors to discuss the need for smoke free playgrounds and housing. Read More »

Smoke-Free Hospital Campuses

Boston launched the Tobacco-Free Hospital initiative, a partnership between the City of Boston, the Boston Public Health Commission, and 10 Boston hospitals to decrease tobacco use and exposure on hospital campuses. In a city like Boston where hospitals are some of the largest employers and receive millions of visitors a year, a policy such as this should have a major impact. The initiative was a comprehensive approach to creating tobacco-free hospitals that includes instituting policies prohibiting patients, visitors, and employees from smoking on hospital property at all times; routinely screening patients for tobacco use and offering them quit-smoking aids; providing cessation benefits to employees; and adopting business practices that reflect each hospital’s commitment to being tobacco-free, such as divesting the hospital of all tobacco company stock. The goal was for Boston hospitals taking part in the campaign to implement their tobacco-free policies by Patriots’ Day, April 16, 2012.

The participating hospitals were Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Carney Hospital, Children’s Hospital Boston, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Tufts Medical Center, Faulkner Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Many of these institutions are partners of BACH.

Smoke Free Housing


BACH supported the city’s Smoke Free Homes campaign, an effort  advanced by the Boston Public Health Commission in partnership with public health agencies, health care institutions, city and state governmental agencies, housing operators, tenant organizations, and legal advocates.

The Boston Smoke Free Homes Campaign sought to:

  • Educate the public about the health and safety risks of secondhand smoke and smoking in homes;
  • Provide information and support resources to smokers who desire to quit;
  • Encourage property owners to create smoke free options for tenants and to establish smoke-free policies for their buildings;
  • Offer information, resources, and support to landlords and property owners who wish to adopt smoke-free policies for their buildings and properties;
  • From the initiation of development of these sites, work with new green housing developers to establish smoke-free housing in these spaces; and
  • Support landlords and property owners to advertise, and prospective tenants and purchasers to locate smoke-free homes through the Boston Smoke-Free Homes Registry

Community Development Corporations

BACH members worked with their neighborhood community development corporations to promote the implementation of smoke free initiatives and forge a commitment to building smoke free housing in the future. Joe Kriesberg, President of the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations, played a leadership role on this issue. See his blog post.