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CVS Health helps colleges go smoke-free

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Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative awards grants to 20 schools

ATLANTA — The American Cancer Society and the CVS Health Foundation have awarded grants to 20 U.S. colleges and universities through their Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI).

The $3.6 million, multiyear program aims to drive the adoption and implementation of smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies and is part of CVS Health’s “Be The First” five-year, $50 million effort to supports education, advocacy, tobacco control, and healthy behavior programming to  deliver the nation’s first tobacco-free generation.

Over the next three years, the Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative will award grants to 125 colleges and universities across the country with the greatest need for stronger tobacco prevention and control. The grants are designed to help schools advocate for, adopt and implement 100% tobacco- and smoke-free campus policies. Campuses will also receive technical assistance and resources to support efforts with education, communications, cessation and evaluation.

CVS Health noted that it has set actionable, measurable goals for Be The First, including a doubling of the number of tobacco-free college and university campuses in the United States. Of the approximately 4,700 institutions of higher education nationwide, the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation reports that 1,427 campuses are 100% smoke- and tobacco-free.

“We’re at a critical moment in our nation’s efforts to end the epidemic of smoking and tobacco use, and expanding the number of tobacco-free college and university campuses is an important step in our efforts,” Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer at CVS Health, said in a statement. “We’re confident our strategy will drive a significant decline in the number of new college-age smokers and contribute to the progress being made where a tobacco-free generation in the U.S. seems possible.”

Today, the American Cancer Society is holding its Great American Smokeout, an annual intervention effort to encourage smokers to quit for a day, quit for good or make a plan to quit. The event also raises awareness of tools and resources smokers can use to help them quit.

“With our partners at CVS Health, we are excited to support the efforts of many dedicated students, faculty and staff to make their campuses smoke- and tobacco-free using proven strategies that will also reduce tobacco use among students,” stated Gary Reedy, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. “To be successful in creating a tobacco-free generation, it is important that we prevent and eliminate lethal and addictive tobacco use among college students.”

One of the first 20 grant recipients is the University of Pennsylvania, which is working toward becoming the first Ivy League school to adopt a 100% tobacco-free campus policy.

Other grant recipients include Bowling Green State University (Ohio), California State University San Marcos, Davenport University (Michigan), East Carolina University (North Carolina), El Paso Community College (Texas), Indiana University-Bloomington, Lenoir-Rhyne University (North Carolina), Merritt College (California), Montclair State University (New Jersey), Oakland University (Michigan), Penn State University (Pennsylvania), Piedmont Community College (North Carolina), Saint Mary’s College of California, Springfield College (Massachusetts), St. Xavier University (Illinois), Texas Christian University, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College (Ohio) and the University of Michigan.

In tandem with the CVS Health Foundation, the American Cancer Society will start accepting online applications for the next round of Tobacco-Free Generation Initiative grants. The fall grant cycle runs until Feb. 28, 2017, and the names of grant recipients are slated to be announced in May 2017.


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