The University of Findlay is excited to announce it has received a $15,500 grant from the American Cancer Society’s Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative, which is part of CVS Health’s “Be the First” campaign. Funding was provided by the CVS Health Foundation.
The initiative is designed to help create the nation’s first tobacco-free generation and help reduce the number of people who get sick and die from tobacco-related disease by reducing tobacco use among college students.
“There is already strong student support for this type of tobacco-free policy at the University,” said grants manager Tricia Valasek. “Combining this support with our health profession programs and the extensive availability of model tobacco-free policies from other colleges and universities nationwide will enable this project to be successfully completed.”
UF was one of 44 schools nationwide to receive this second annual round of initiative funding. The “Be the First” campaign has made a five-year, $50 million commitment toward this effort.
The University of Findlay intends to use the funding to develop a plan for the entire campus to become tobacco-free. Currently, UF prohibits smoking in facilities and student housing. Awareness initiatives will help the campus and its visitors learn about the dangers of tobacco-use, and keep them updated on its tobacco prohibition progress.
Valasek said the University will examine successful tobacco-free policies that other schools have implemented in order to tailor one for UF. A 12-member committee, led by members in the College of Pharmacy and UF’s Health Services, and comprised of various campus stakeholders, will soon reexamine the University’s existing policy and evaluate other higher education policies on this issue. With the grant, graduate assistants and student workers will be hired to help with messaging, campus recruiting of those who will tout the benefits of living a tobacco-free life, advertising and education. Surveys will help gauge campus and community interest levels, and estimate tobacco use rates on campus. The University also hopes to collaborate with surrounding businesses, along with city government and safety services as it develops a plan.
Administrators would like to have an updated policy in place for the University of Findlay to become tobacco-free by the end of 2018.
The number of college campuses in the United States that have or are planning to become tobacco free is on the rise. According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, which publishes a list of campuses that have comprehensive tobacco-free or smoke-free policies in place, 1,757 campuses as of January 2017 were smoke-free; 1,468 of those were tobacco-free. A total of 1,331 also prohibit e-cigarettes, or vaping, anywhere on campus.