18 schools pledge to go tobacco-free through college program initiative
Eighteen colleges and universities were awarded grants from Truth Initiative® to adopt a 100 percent tobacco-free campus policy, a move that will protect more than 100,000 students and employees across 17 states.
The Truth Initiative Tobacco-Free College Program, which offers grants to minority-serving academic institutions and community colleges, provides up to $20,000 for higher education institutions to engage their campus community to address smoking and tobacco use. Grantees of the Tobacco-Free College Program also receive guidance through webinars, learning communities, an in-person training and one-on-one consultations.
Over the next 17 months, the new grantees will form a campus task force that will assess tobacco use behaviors and attitudes, identify a treatment plan for current smokers and develop a tobacco-free policy. Two student leaders will also develop and lead educational efforts to build a movement to become a tobacco-free campus. For example, Baltimore City Community College, one of the 18 grantees, is planning to host educational tobacco-free events and distribute materials that encourage students to stop smoking and educate them on the risks of tobacco and other smoking products.
“It is vital that our students know the risks tobacco and secondhand smoke pose, both for themselves as well as their families and communities,” said Dr. Gordon F. May, president and CEO of Baltimore City Community College. “This grant will enable BCCC to work toward the goal of being a smoke-free campus for the health of our students and for all of Baltimore.”
Smoke- and tobacco-free policies at colleges and universities have multiple benefits: they reduce tobacco use among young adults, create opportunities to educate students about tobacco and help the economy and environment. Expanding the number of college and university campuses that ban smoking and tobacco use is critical because virtually all smokers — 99 percent — start smoking before turning 26 years old.
Since 2015, Truth Initiative has provided grants to 135 historically black colleges and universities and community colleges to advocate for, adopt and implement a 100 percent smoke- or tobacco-free policy. The latest 18 grantees of the Truth Initiative Tobacco-Free Program include:
- Alamance Community College in Graham, North Carolina
- Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina
- Baltimore City Community College in Baltimore, Maryland
- Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, Washington
- Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, California
- Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, Kansas
- Great Falls College Montana State University in Great Falls, Montana
- Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia
- Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York
- New Jersey City University in Jersey, City, New Jersey
- North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
- North Lake College in Irving, Texas
- Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York
- Roxbury Community College in Boston, Massachusetts
- Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia
- West Shore Community College in Scottville, Michigan
- West Virginia State University in Institute, West Virginia
- Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff, Nebraska
Truth Initiative is accepting applications for the next round of grants through the Tobacco-Free College Program, which now offers up to $20,000 to women’s colleges, as well as minority-serving academic institutions and community colleges. Applications are due April 10.