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Ole Miss receives grant towards a tobacco-free campus

The goal to have a completely tobacco- and smoke-free environment on Ole Miss’ campus received major support earlier this week. CVS Health provided $18,000 in grants through its CVS Health Foundation to Ole Miss in its efforts to implement smoke-free campus policies, including limiting the use of e-cigarettes. 

Ole Miss’ portion of the grant is part of a $.14 million-plus grant pool to 82 schools across the country. The grants, in partnership with the American Cancer Society and Truth Initiative, build upon the three organization’s commitment to helping deliver a tobacco-free generation. The funding’s goal is accelerate and expand the number of campuses across the country that prohibit smoking, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. 

“The Center for Wellness Education is excited to begin the conversation of fostering an environment that supports a tobacco-free campus,” UM assistant director of wellness education Erin Cromeans said. “We would like to join the nearly 2,000 colleges and universities who have executed a tobacco-free campus.” 

In 2013, Ole Miss adopted a campus wide smoking ban, which was supported by numerous groups and organizations across campus. Smoking is prohibited at all times and at all locations on campus, including university-owned facilities, properties and grounds. 

The university also offers multiple options for students who are seeking to quit smoking as part of the adoption.

“Moving from a smoke-free to tobacco-free campus is the logical next step in creating a healthier environment for everyone who studies, works or visits the University of Mississippi,” UM assistant vice chancellor for student affairs Leslie Banahan said. ”I am grateful we are addressing the risks of tobacco use and, hopefully, helping this generation of students be nonusers of cigarettes, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes.” 

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. Since 2012, the number of colleges and universities in the United States that are smoke- and tobacco-free have doubled, yet half of the 5,000 schools across the country still do not have any comprehensive policies in place.