Health & Safety

20 Colleges and Universities Receive Grants to Go Tobacco-Free

By: Megan Johnson, Wright State University

As a parent, you understandably worry about your student’s health. Smoking runs rampant on college and university campuses, affecting the health of smokers and nonsmokers alike. However, a few organizations are offering grants to help combat tobacco use.

According to a recent press release, The American Cancer Society and the CVS Health Foundation awarded 20 U.S. colleges and universities with grants as part of their Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI). TFGCI is a $3.6 million multi-year program developed to help accelerate and expand the adoption and implementation of 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies.

TFGCI is part of CVS health’s five-year, $50 million initiative called Be the First, which supports education, advocacy, tobacco control and healthy behavior programming to help create the nation’s first tobacco-free generation. A goal of this initiative includes doubling the number of tobacco-free campuses in the U.S.

TFGCI plans to award grants to 125 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. over the next three years, focusing on those with the greatest need for stronger tobacco prevention and control. Schools can use these grants to advocate for, adopt and implement 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies. With these grants, schools also receive technical assistance and resources to support their efforts.

One of the first 20 grant recipients, The University of Pennsylvania hopes to become the first 100 percent tobacco-free Ivy League institution.

“Under the leadership of Penn pulmonologist Frank Leone, we have developed an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to smoking cessation that has yielded unprecedented success in just two years,” Penn President Amy Gutmann said in the release. “This generous grant will greatly aid the University’s ongoing efforts to effectively address this major public health epidemic.”

Approximately 4,700 institutions of higher education are established in the United States, and only 1,427 of these are 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free, according to the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. TFGCI grants support efforts to increase this number of smoke-free and tobacco-free campuses.

A national Morning Consult poll described in the press release revealed strong public support for addressing the impact of tobacco use on college and university campuses, with more than half of Americans (of a sample of 2,202 registered voters) thinking the number of tobacco-free campuses is too low. Seventy-five percent of Americans support policies that prohibit smoking and other tobacco use on college campuses.

Did your student’s school receive one of the TFGCI grants this time around? Grant recipients include:

Bowling Green State University (Ohio), California State University San Marcos, Davenport University (Mich.), East Carolina University (N.C.), El Paso Community College (Texas), Indiana University – Bloomington, Lenoir-Rhyne University (N.C.), Merritt College (Calif.), Montclair State University (N.J.), Oakland University (Mich.), Penn State University (Pa.), Piedmont Community College (N.C.), Saint Mary’s College of California, Springfield College (Mass.), St. Xavier University (Ill.), Texas Christian University, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College (Ohio) and University of Michigan.

If your student’s school is not listed and their campus is not tobacco- and smoke-free, do you think your student’s campus would benefit from a TFGCI grant? The American Cancer Society will begin accepting applications for the next round of TFGCI grants starting February 28, 2017, with grant recipient names announced in May 2017. Applications can be found here.

Learn more about the Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI) on

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