WINSTON-SALEM, NC (SEPTEMBER 25, 2020) — Salem College was one of 14 colleges and universities to be awarded a grant from Truth Initiative® to adopt a 100 percent tobacco/vape-free campus policy. The effort is part of a national movement among students, faculty, and administrators to address smoking, vaping, and nicotine use at college campuses throughout the U.S.
As the nation gets back to school amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, concerns about the youth vaping crisis continue to mount as the evidence base on the connection between the two grows. Newly published data show young people who report ever using e-cigarettes may be up to five times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 compared to their non-vaping peers. In addition, new CDC reports show an encouraging decline in youth vaping, but a troubling rise in menthol and flavored disposable e-cigarette use.
Over the next 19 months, Salem College will form a campus task force that will assess smoking, vaping, and tobacco use behaviors and attitudes; identify a treatment plan for current smokers and vapers; and develop a smoke, vape, and tobacco-free policy. Two student leaders will also develop and lead educational efforts to build a movement to become a smoke, vape, and tobacco-free campus. After participation in the program, the institutions are poised to join a growing movement that will protect more than 1.9 million students and 159,000 employees in 40 states.
Since 2015, the Truth Initiative Tobacco/Vape-Free College Program has awarded more than $2.4 million in funding to 200 colleges, universities, and college systems. Moreover, with the tobacco industry’s long history of targeting vulnerable communities, the grant program seeks to serve community colleges, minority-serving institutions, and women’s colleges. This year’s 14 grantees represent a diverse group of institutions, including community colleges, HBCUs, Hispanic serving institutions, women’s colleges, tribal colleges, and Asian American and Native American Pacific-Islander serving colleges.