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83 schools pledge to go smoke- or tobacco-free with community college initiative

With 29 community colleges joining its Community College Grant Initiative, Truth Initiative® has awarded funding to 83 community colleges to go smoke- or tobacco-free.

Each school received a grant of $7,500 or $10,000 to advocate for, adopt and implement a 100 percent smoke- or tobacco-free policy. In addition to financial support, schools receive assistance through educational webinars, access to online learning communities and one-on-one consultations.

For the first step of the initiative, new grantees form a campus task force that helps with creating a new, or expanding an existing smoke- or tobacco-free policy. For example:

  • West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif., has a campus policy that allows smoking in outer parking lots. The task force will update the policy and focus on improving Butt About It, the college’s cessation program for students. It will explore offering the program to staff and faculty members, too. The school will also strengthen partnerships with local tobacco prevention groups and public health organizations like Breathe California, for additional support.
  • Through a survey supported by its grant, Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Neb., found that 77 percent of its employees support a smoke- and tobacco-free campus. The current policy limits smoking to designated areas at least 25 feet away from buildings. A task force of campus groups will conduct educational sessions about the risks of tobacco use and the need for policy change. Other plans include a promotion campaign and a campus-wide assessment to learn more about tobacco use behaviors and attitudes.
  • Piedmont Community College in Roxboro, N.C., currently allows tobacco use in designated areas on campus. Its task force will administer a mandatory, annual tobacco survey to students and has proposed multiple activities to engage students and involve academic programs. For example, the school may host a cigarette butt clean-up, produce a commercial with positive, tobacco-free messages or provide cessation counseling training.

“What these colleges are doing is hard work, but the experience can be life-changing and life-saving,” said Alex Parks, director of Community Engagement at Truth Initiative. “Building support for policy change and ensuring the new policy is implemented correctly will ultimately improve the health and well-being of their entire campus communities.”

Since 2015, Truth Initiative’s grant initiatives have focused on community colleges and HBCUs because these institutions often serve populations at higher risk for tobacco use. To date, the initiative has awarded grants to a total of 135 schools, reaching across 35 states and protecting more than half a million students, faculty and staff members. So far, 39 schools have successfully implemented a 100 percent tobacco- or smoke-free policy as a result of support from Truth Initiative.

Watch here to learn more about Truth Initiative’s College Grant Initiatives:

The latest community college grantees in the Community College Grant Initiative include:

  • Aims Community College - Greeley, Colo.
  • Alvin Community College - Alvin, Texas
  • Antelope Community College - Lancaster, Calif.
  • Blue Ash College - Blue Ash, Ohio
  • Citrus College - Glendora, Calif.
  • Clermont College - Batavia, Ohio
  • Evergreen Valley College - San Jose, Calif.
  • Foothill Community College - Los Altos Hills, Calif.
  • Gavilan College - Gilroy, Calif.
  • Long Beach City College - Long Beach, Calif.
  • Lorain County Community College - Elyria, Ohio
  • Metropolitan Community College - Omaha, Neb.
  • Naugatuck Valley Community College - Waterbury, Conn.
  • NHTI, Concords Community College - Concord, N.H.
  • Oxnard College Foundation - Oxnard, Calif.
  • Piedmont Community College - Roxboro, N.C.
  • Pierce College - Lakewood, Wash.
  • Pitt Community College - Winterville, N.C.
  • Reedley College - Reedley, Calif.
  • Salt Lake City Community College - Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Shelton State Community College - Tuscaloosa, Ala.
  • St. Petersburg Community College - St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • Terra State Community College - Fremont, Ohio
  • Treasure Valley Community College - Ontario, Ore.
  • Truckee Meadows Community College - Reno, Nev.
  • Ventura College - Ventura, Calif.
  • Vermont Technical College - Randolph Center, Vt.
  • West Valley College - Saratoga, Calif.
  • Western Nevada College - Carson City, Nev.