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Cheyney Receives Grant from the CVS Health Foundation and American Cancer Society to Pursue 100% Tobacco-Free Campus

September 25, 2017

 CVS Health Foundation

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania is part of the second cohort to receive a $10,000 grant for the 2017-2018 academic year from the CVS Health Foundation, Truth Initiative and the American Cancer Society, to advocate for the campus to adopt and implement a smoke and tobacco-free policy. Cheyney’s own “Be Free” initiative explicitly calls for the campus to be smoke and tobacco-free by December 2018.

“Cheyney was originally awarded a two-year $10,000 grant from the Truth Initiative to assist with our efforts and now that it has ended, and the new grant with the CVS Health Foundation and the American Cancer Society is beginning, we plan to continue to expand our work to promote a tobacco-free generation,” says Thom Nixon, Associate Director of Community Living and Judicial Affairs. Nixon also serves as the Grant Lead and Chair of the CU Tobacco-Free Task Force.

Cheyney first began this initiative in 2015, through a partnership with Main Line Health (also a member of the CU Tobacco Free Task Force) and a grant from the Truth Initiative, a national non-profit organization based in Washington D.C. that advocates for a 100 percent smoke and tobacco-free campus policies at both Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other college campuses across the United States. Since, the university has reached several milestones in their quest to become tobacco-free, including being among four HBCUs that won the 2017 Truth Initiative Art Campaign. Art students used the $1,000 award to create a commemorative bench that highlights CU’s smoke-free plan.

“Using this funding, the Task Force also plans to review CU's current policies and implement new strategies that will allow us to reach our goal to become a smoke-and-tobacco-free campus by December 2018,” said Nixon.

Cheyney will also continue to host prevention education activities including health-fairs, town hall forums to discuss the dangers of tobacco usage and share prevention methods and the national event, The Great American Smokeout (which takes place on the third Thursday in November), that challenges smokers to quit cigarettes for 24 hours with the hopes that this decision will continue forever.

Nixon also shared that the university will be screening the short documentary, Black Lives/Black Lungs which takes aim at the tobacco industry’s blatant marketing strategies to selectively target Black consumers, and infiltrate into predominately Black communities.

Recent data from a public opinion poll (conducted by Morning Consult for CVS Health), confirms public support for a smoke-and-tobacco-free policies revealing that 57 percent of U.S. college students say a tobacco-free campus is important to them when considering applying to or attending a college, and 90 percent of Americans say college campuses should be tobacco free.