University Takes Initial Steps Towards a 100% Tobacco-Free Campus

Grant from the CVS Health Foundation helps launch programs to advocate for, adopt and implement 100 percent smoke-and-tobacco-free policies

Montclair State University has been awarded a $19,415 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 eventual adoption and implementation of 100 percent smoke-and-tobacco-free campus policies. The University is among the first 20 institutions nationwide to receive the funding, and is the only grantee in New Jersey.

With the funding, Montclair State will launch Tobacco Free Red Hawks – a program designed to engage and educate the campus community about the health and lifestyle issues related to tobacco and smoking. Focusing primarily on its 21,000 students, the initiative will include outreach events and smoking cessation groups with the ultimate goal of becoming a completely tobacco-free campus.

“The goal of Tobacco Free Red Hawks is to engage and educate the campus community and support those who are looking to make lifestyle changes,” says Montclair State University Coordinator of Health Promotion Marie Cascarano. “The University feels strongly about its role in creating a healthy living, learning and working environment for all students, faculty and staff, and this initiative is another way to act on that institutional commitment.”

The grantswhich are distributed to colleges and university across the United Statesare intended to address a critical, unmet need by helping colleges and universities work towards the ultimate goal of becoming 100 percent smoke-and-tobacco-free over the course of three years. Of the 4,700 higher education institutions in the United States, currently only 1,427 are 100 percent smoke-and-tobacco-free.

“In collaboration with other student development and campus life partners, the Montclair State University Office of Health Promotion has been working toward creating healthy tobacco-free lifestyles since 2011,” explained Karen L. Pennington, vice president for student development and campus life. “The University Senate charged the Campus Tobacco Task Force in 2012, and in fall of 2015 approved a recommendation that Montclair State adopt a 100 percent tobacco-free campus policy – including a ban on vapor and e-cigarette products. This grant will enable us to incorporate proven strategies and move towards ultimately becoming a tobacco-free campus.” 

TFGCI is part of Be The First, CVS Health’s new five-year, $50 million initiative that uses education, advocacy, tobacco control and healthy behavior programming to help deliver the nation’s first tobacco-free generation and extend the company’s larger commitment to help people lead tobacco-free lives.

“To be successful in creating a tobacco-free generation, it is important that we prevent and eliminate lethal and addictive tobacco among America’s college students,” said Cliff Douglas, vice president for tobacco control and director of the American Cancer Society’s Center for Tobacco Control. 

“We’re at a critical moment in our nation’s efforts to end the epidemic of tobacco use, but we know we can’t do it alone,” said Eileen Howard Boone, senior vice president for corporate social responsibility and philanthropy for CVS Health and president of the CVS Health Foundation. “Through the power of partnership and by increasing the number of tobacco-free colleges and universities, we can contribute to the progress being made where a tobacco-free generation in the U.S. seems possible, not a faraway dream.”