Having dropped tobacco from its stores and refocused its front end on better-for-you products, CVS is taking aim at e-cigarettes. The company has made a three-year, $500,000 grant to bring the CATCH Global Foundation’s youth e-cigarette prevention program “CATCH My Breath” to middle and high schools nationwide.
CATCH My Breath is the first program specifically aimed at thwarting youth usage of e-cigarettes, the most commonly used tobacco product among youth and young adults. The program was developed by youth tobacco prevention experts at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health. It responded to a warning about the health hazards of rising youth e-cigarette use in a 2016 Surgeon General’s report.
A pilot test of the CATCH My Breath last year demonstrated its impact: 86% of participating students said they were less likely to try e-cigarettes.
Currently, CATCH My Breath is taught in 20 states and reaches more than 30,000 youths. The CVS Health grant will expand the program nationally, with a goal to reach 200,000 young people annually by 2020.
“CVS Health’s purpose is helping people on their path to better health, and we believe that stopping the spread of tobacco and e-cigarette use, particularly among young people, is an important element in advancing that purpose,” commented Eileen Howard Boone, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility at CVS Health. “By partnering with the CATCH Global Foundation, we can accelerate our efforts to reach youth at a critical point in time when they can learn healthy behaviors, instead of harmful ones.”
The grant is part of CVS Health’s “Be The First” initiative, a five-year $50 million effort to help deliver the nation’s first tobacco-free generation through education, awareness, research, tobacco control advocacy, and health behavior programming.