Manhattan College has been awarded a grant from Truth Initiative, the national public health organization dedicated to achieving a culture where all young people reject smoking, vaping and nicotine–to adopt a 100% tobacco and vape-free campus policy. Manhattan College is one of 18 colleges and universities to receive this award as part of a national movement among students, faculty and administrators to address smoking, vaping and nicotine use at college campuses throughout the U.S.
The latest National Youth Tobacco Survey data show that youth vaping remains a serious public health threat, with over 2.5 million high school and middle school students using e-cigarettes even before they get to college. Young people who use e-cigarettes are also more likely to start smoking cigarettes than their peers who do not vape. Tobacco and vape-free policies are more important than ever as e-cigarette use among young people continues at epidemic levels.
Over the next 17 months, Manhattan College will form a campus task force to assess smoking, vaping and tobacco use behaviors and attitudes, identify a cessation support plan for current smokers and vapers, and develop a tobacco and vape-free campus policy. Two student leaders will also spearhead educational efforts to engage and mobilize their fellow students, building a movement to become a tobacco/vape-free campus.
“The grant and support from Truth Initiative will support our students, staff and faculty to design and implement a tobacco and vape-free initiative that makes our campus environment healthier for all by promoting both physical and mental well-being,” said Esmilda Abreu, Ph.D., assistant vice president, dean of students. “We’re excited to hit the ground running alongside our community and our partners at Truth Initiative, to develop a plan for a tobacco and vape-free campus, and show that colleges and minority-serving institutions are leading the charge in realizing a future where young people choose lives free from nicotine.”
Since 2015, Truth Initiative’s Tobacco/Vape-Free College Program has provided funding for more than 200 colleges and college systems to become 100% tobacco and vape-free. Given the tobacco industry’s long history of targeting specific communities. The grant program seeks to serve colleges whose populations are disproportionately affected by tobacco – including people in low-income communities, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ individuals, military members and those with mental illness.
“We are grateful for our dedicated college partners across the country who are working to make campus environments healthier places to live, work and learn,” said Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative. “We are proud to continue to build relationships and provide grants to institutions, offering the support and the tools to help them fight back against the decades of targeted marketing from Big Tobacco. Giving colleges the tools and resources to create tobacco/vape-free policies will help us realize a future where young people reject smoking, vaping and nicotine use.”