Helping community colleges and HBCUs go tobacco-free

Helping community colleges and HBCUs go tobacco-free

October 15, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


>>JULIA OSAGIE: We know what’s happening and
we’re ready to fight back.>>MEGHAN ESTES: As a public health professional,
I’m very excited about it.>>ALEX JOHNSON: I have total confidence in
this generation to do great things.>>ROBIN KOVAL: In 2000, the youth smoking
rate was 23%. Today, it’s 7%. That is enormous progress. This literally can be the generation that
ends tobacco. Truth Initiative’s mission is to achieve a
culture where all youth and young adults reject tobacco. 99% of smokers start using tobacco before
the age of 27. So, if you want to prevent tobacco use, you
have to go to where they are. And for many young adults, of course, that’s
college.>>JULIA OSAGIE: Thirty five HBCUs across the
nation have tobacco-free policies. There are still 70 left to go including Howard
University. The goal is to make Howard a tobacco-free
institution. The Truth Initiative provides a number of
important resources including a toolkit, a draft policy, ideas for student engagement,
social media engagement.>>ROBIN KOVAL: You know, the tobacco industry
spends approximately 9 billion dollars in marketing in the U.S. every year. That’s 9 billion, with a ‘b’. For decades the tobacco industry has targeted
minority communities, particularly African-Americans.>>JULIA OSAGIE: Tobacco is something that’s
really ravaged the black community. And so taking a stand against an industry
that has had such detrimental affects for so long is very important to Howard.>>ALEX JOHNSON: Cuyahoga Community College
is the largest community college in the state. We enroll, each year, 55,000 individuals. We want our students to be competitive for
a workplace that is demanding in some instances that they are tobacco- and smoke-free.>>MEGHAN ESTES: Having some tools and resources
that were provided through Truth Initiative and being able to connect with other grantees
across the United States really helped for us to collaborate and to implement 100% tobacco-free
policies.>>ALEX JOHNSON: Part of our success in considering
and ultimately implementing this measure is that we’ve already established an environment
of inclusivity. Nothing gets done in an institution of this
size in caliber unless you have wholesale engagement.>>JULIA OSAGIE: It’s really about saving lives. So, the work I do, the work that the Truth
Initiative does and really anyone else involved in tobacco-control and prevention will save
lives in the future.>>ROBIN KOVAL: To be the generation that ends
smoking is an incredible opportunity for today’s students on HBCU campuses, community college
campuses and everywhere.