WASHINGTON, March 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of its commitment to building healthier communities, CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today announced it has provided a total of $79,566 in grants through the CVS Health Foundation to four colleges and universities in Massachusetts to advocate for, adopt, and implement 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies, including limiting the use of e-cigarettes. The four schools include Roxbury Community College, Bay Path University in Longmeadow, Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley and the Urban College of Boston.
The new recipients are part of a more than $1.4 million grant pool to 82 schools across the country. Delivered in partnership with the American Cancer Society and Truth Initiative, the grants build upon the three organizations' combined commitment to helping deliver a tobacco-free generation.
The funding announced today will help accelerate and expand the number of campuses across the country that prohibit smoking, e-cigarette, and other tobacco product use. While conventional cigarette smoking among high school students has fallen by almost 50 percent since 2011, e-cigarette use has surged over the last year, especially among young people—there are 2.8 million young adults aged 18-24 who are current e-cigarette users. The spread of e-cigarettes risks a reversal of the progress made in reducing smoking over the last two decades given that young people who vape are four times more likely to begin smoking cigarettes in the future.
"A critical goal in building healthier communities across the country is reducing tobacco-use, which remains one of the leading causes of preventable death in this country," said Eileen Howard Boone, President of the CVS Health Foundation. "By helping more colleges and universities explore and execute on tobacco-free policies, we're able to positively influence the number of new college-age smokers and get one step closer to our goal of seeing the first tobacco-free generation."
The grants are part of Be The First, CVS Health's five-year, $50 million initiative to deliver the nation's first tobacco-free generation, which is a major program within the company's new $100 million Building Healthier Communities initiative. While the number of U.S. colleges and universities that are smoke- or tobacco-free has doubled since 2012, approximately half of the nearly 5,000 schools across the country still have no comprehensive policy in place.
With the CVS Health Foundation's support, the American Cancer Society and Truth Initiative programs help students, faculty and staff develop and execute strategies that are customized to meet the unique needs of each campus and move the schools toward a 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free environment. Together, the organizations have provided financial and technical support to more than 200 colleges and universities since 2016, helping to clear the air for more than one million students.
"While the teen smoking rate has fallen to an all-time low of 4.6 percent, the rapid rise in e-cigarette use threatens to erase this progress given youth who vape are four times more likely to progress to smoking deadly cigarettes," said Robin Koval, CEO and President of Truth Initiative. "Over the years, we've had great success in working with colleges to go smoke- and tobacco-free. They now play a critical role in also addressing the e-cigarette epidemic as vaping becomes even more prevalent on campuses across the U.S. Together with our partners, we look forward to empowering as many colleges and universities as possible with the information and resources they need to end all tobacco use for good."
"Cigarettes cause more than 480,000 U.S. deaths annually and are responsible for nearly 29 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S.," said Gary Reedy, CEO of the American Cancer Society. "College is a time when young adults are susceptible to developing or perpetuating an addiction to nicotine and tobacco. This partnership continues to enable us to help reduce tobacco use among college students and therefore reduce the number of people impacted by tobacco-related diseases."
To see the full list of colleges supported by these grants and for more information on the grant application process, please visit http://www.cvshealth.com/smartcampusesquit.
About CVS Health
CVS Health is the nation's premier health innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Whether in one of its pharmacies or through its health services and plans, CVS Health is pioneering a bold new approach to total health by making quality care more affordable, accessible, simple and seamless. CVS Health is community-based and locally focused, engaging consumers with the care they need when and where they need it. The Company has more than 9,800 retail locations, approximately 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with approximately 93 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, expanding specialty pharmacy services, and a leading stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. CVS Health also serves an estimated 39 million people through traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including a rapidly expanding Medicare Advantage offering. This innovative health care model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at https://www.cvshealth.com.
About the CVS Health Foundation
The CVS Health Foundation is a private charitable organization created by CVS Health that works to build healthier communities, enabling people of all ages to lead healthy, productive lives. The Foundation provides strategic investments to nonprofit partners throughout the U.S. who help increase community-based access to health care for underserved populations, create innovative approaches to chronic disease management and provide tobacco cessation and youth prevention programming. We also invest in scholarship programs that open the pathways to careers in pharmacy to support the academic aspirations of the best and brightest talent in the industry. Our philanthropy also extends to supporting our colleagues' spirit of volunteerism through Volunteer Challenge grants to nonprofits where they donate their time and fundraising efforts. To learn more about the CVS Health Foundation and its giving, visit www.cvshealth.com/social-responsibility.
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 1.5 million volunteers dedicated to saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer. From breakthrough research to free lodging near treatment, a 24/7/365 live helpline, free rides to treatment, and convening powerful activists to create awareness and impact, the Society is the attacking cancer from every angle. For more information go to www.cancer.org.
About Truth Initiative
Truth Initiative is a national public health organization that is inspiring tobacco-free lives and building a culture where all youth and young adults reject tobacco. The truth about tobacco and the tobacco industry are at the heart of our proven-effective and nationally recognized truth® public-education campaign, our rigorous and scientific research and policy studies, and our innovative community and youth engagement programs supporting populations at high risk of using tobacco. The Washington, D.C.,-based organization, formerly known as Legacy, was established and funded through the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. To learn more about how Truth Initiative speaks, seeks and spreads the truth about tobacco, visit truthinitiative.org.
SOURCE CVS Health Foundation