Merritt College was awarded a $20,000 grant as part of the American Cancer Society and the CVS Health Foundation’s Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI), a $3.6 million multi-year program intended to accelerate and expand the adoption and implementation of 100 percent smoke-and tobacco-free campus policies.
Over the next three years, a total of 125 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. will be awarded TFGCI grants to support these efforts. Campuses will also receive technical assistance and resources to support their efforts with education, communications, cessation and evaluation. Merritt College is one of the first 20 colleges and universities to receive a TFGCI grant.
“We’re honored to be one of the first college to receive this pioneering grant and look forward to using these critical new resources to enable our tobacco prevention taskforce to successfully promote the adoption and implementation of a strong, 100 percent tobacco-free policy on campus,” said Jon Murphy of Merritt’s Health Services, who is coordinating the college’s grant. “Protecting the health and wellness of our faculty, staff, students and visitors and creating a healthier and cleaner campus environment is a very high priority.”
Merritt will be using the grant in a variety of ways, including forming a task force of students and administrators to brainstorm about the best ways to make the campus smoke-free, holding an art contest to publicize the impact of second-hand smoke, providing jobs for students to go into classrooms and teach others about the impact of second-hand smoke, and offering cessation programs for students. Marlene Hurd, president of Merritt’s Tobacco-less Club, is heading the effort.
TFGCI grants are intended to address a critical, unmet need by helping colleges and universities achieve 100% smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies. The U.S. Department of Education reports there are approximately 4,700 institutions of higher education in the United States. According to the Americans for Nonsmokers Rights Foundation, only 1,427 college campuses are 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free. That reflects major progress over earlier years, but much remains to be done.
This TFCGI grant announcement with the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 17, an national intervention effort to encourage smokers to quit for a day, quit for good, or make a plan to quit. Merritt College has activities planned for the day.
The CVS Health Foundation is a private charitable organization that works to build healthier communities enabling people of all ages to lead healthy, productive lives.