Three-year CVS funding has ended; new funding source needed
In 2016, the American Cancer Society’s Center for Tobacco Control launched a bold initiative – the Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI) – to accelerate and expand the adoption and implementation of 100% smoke- and tobacco-free policies on college and university campuses across the nation.
The initiative was initially supported with a three-year $3.6 million from CVS Health. A total of five cohorts, comprised of 107 colleges and universities, have received grant funding to support their work to protect students, faculty, staff, and visitors to campuses since then. Now, three years later, the ACS is celebrating the adoption of stronger smoke- and tobacco-free policies at more than a third of those colleges and universities.
“TFGCI’s grantees range from small, private colleges such as St. Xavier University, to large, research institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania, and represent almost 1.8 million college students, almost a quarter million faculty, and countless other staff and visitors,” said Bidisha Sinha, MPH, director of tobacco control initiatives at ACS. “We know at least 38 schools or approximately 35 percent of our grantees have adopted stronger policies.”
Each school that is awarded a grant receives up to $20,000 to help them advocate for, adopt, and implement 100% smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies. ACS also provides technical assistance and resources and convenes grant winners at an annual summit where they learn from their peers and experts and develop additional relationships to support their work. To earn the 100% smoke- and tobacco-free designation, smoking cannot be allowed anywhere on campus at any time. The policy must also include all tobacco products, including non-combustible products like smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes.
Recent wins include Oregon State University. This message came to ACS from OSU’s leadership after their policy was adopted:
We’d like to share our excellent news of the final confirmation of our new 100% Tobacco Free Oregon State University Policy. This policy covers all tobacco products including e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco and covers all Oregon State University locations and controlled spaces.
Despite the success over the past three years, there is still more work to do. A recent study in the journal Tobacco Control, whose co-authors included Bidisha and Cliff Douglas, ACS’s vice president for tobacco control, found that only 16.7% of accredited, degree-granting institutions in the U.S. had 100% smoke- or tobacco-free policies in 2017, and that slightly more than 25% of full- and part-time college students, faculty, and staff were covered by 100% smoke- or tobacco-free policies.
“We will be looking at new funding to expand the program to even more schools with a goal of reaching global colleges and universities, as well as technology and vocational schools in the U.S.,” Bidisha said.
The most recent cohort of TFGCI grantees includes its first school outside the U.S. - Qatar University in Doha, Qatar. Other new grantees include:
- George Mason University in Fairfax, VA
- Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA
- Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston, MA
- Rutgers School in New Brunswick, NJ
- Texas A & M University in College Station, TX
- University of Alabama in Birmingham, AL
- University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, CA
- University of Maryland in College Park, MD
- University of Washington in Seattle, WA
“We are very optimistic that, through our energetic, collaborative efforts, ACS’s Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative will continue to expand the list of campuses that adopt strong smoke- and tobacco-free policies,” said Bidisha. “There are only three states with such comprehensive protections at more than half of their colleges and universities. We look forward to helping this list grow.”
For more information about TFGCI contact Bidisha at Bidisha.Sinha@cancer.org.
PHOTO: Pictured in the top photo, fourth from the left, is Bidisha, with awardees at the Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative Annual Grantee Summit in Atlanta Oct. 15-17. In the smaller photo are representatives from Oregon State University, which recently passed a tobacco-free policy.