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Women’s colleges now eligible for tobacco-free campus grant

Over the past three years, the Truth Initiative® Tobacco-Free College Program and CVS Health Foundation have helped more than 100 minority-serving academic institutions and community colleges advocate for, adopt and implement a comprehensive smoke- or tobacco-free policy.

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These policies are especially important for minority-serving institutions and community colleges, because they tend to serve students who have a history of being targeted by the tobacco industry and are at greater risk for tobacco use, including low-income and racial/ethnic minority students.

The Tobacco-Free College Program is again accepting applications and is now open to women’s colleges, institutions that also serve a population that has been hit hard by Big Tobacco. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, more than 200,000 women die of tobacco-related diseases. Additionally, 13.6 percent of women smoke cigarettes and 15.4 percent use some type of tobacco product. Research also shows that over the past several decades, women have been slower to quit smoking than men, with a 40 percent smoking rate decrease among men compared with just a 30 percent decrease among women.

The Tobacco-Free College Program offers grants of up to $20,000 to adopt a 100 percent tobacco-free college policy. Grantees of the Tobacco-Free College Program receive guidance through webinars, learning communities, an in-person training and one-on-one consultations throughout the grant period.

After participation in the program, the institutions are poised to join a growing movement — smoke-free colleges in the country have multiplied from 446 in 2010 to at least 2,212 in 2018. College campuses are important in the fight to eliminate tobacco use — still the leading cause of preventable death and disease in America — because 99 percent of smokers start smoking before turning 26 years old.