Jefferson Community College (JCC) is one of 14 colleges and universities to be awarded a Truth Initiative® grant of $17,000 to implement a 100 percent tobacco/vape-free campus. 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 based on the connection between the two grows. Newly published data show young people who reported 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.
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, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic serving institutions, women’s colleges, tribal colleges and Asian American and Native American Pacific-Islander serving colleges. After participation in the program, JCC is poised to join a growing movement that will protect more than 1.9 million students and 159,000 employees in 40 states.
“The college board of trustees approved the Smoke/Vape Policy for a tobacco-free campus in August 2020. The grant from Truth Initiative has set us up for success and I’m positive we can achieve our goals,” said President Ty A. Stone. “We are going to hit the ground running with our plan so that we can make our campus environments safer for all of our students, faculty and staff.”
“Our goal is to make campus environments healthier places to live, work and learn,” said Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative. “We are proud to continue to build relationships and provide grants to minority-serving institutions, women’s colleges and community colleges to give them the tools to go tobacco and vape-free.”
Truth Initiative is equally committed to helping young people who vape to quit. This is Quitting is a first-of-its-kind, free and anonymous text message quit vaping program for teens and young adults that has helped more than 200,000 young people who have enrolled. This is Quitting, first launched in January 2019, was created with input from teens, college students and young adults who have attempted to, or successfully, quit e-cigarettes. Preliminary data about the program published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research showed after just two weeks of using This is Quitting, more than half of participants — 60.8% — reported that they had reduced or stopped using e-cigarettes. Teens and young adults can text “DITCHVAPE” to 88709 and get immediate help. Parents of young people who vape can get support at www.becomeanex.org.
About Jefferson Community College:
One of 30 community colleges supervised by the State University of New York, Jefferson Community College is the community’s leading resource for leading better lives, offering 40+ associate degrees for career preparation or for transfer to a 4-year college; certificate programs; online learning; business and industry training; and cultural enrichment opportunities for the entire Watertown/Fort Drum region.
About Truth Initiative:
Truth Initiative is a national public health organization dedicated to a future where tobacco and nicotine addiction are things of the past. We are inspiring lives free from smoking, vaping and nicotine through our rigorous scientific research and policy studies, our proven-effective and nationally-recognized truth® youth public education campaign, our community and youth engagement programs supporting populations at high risk of using tobacco products, and our innovations to end nicotine addiction by helping people quit. Our 20 years of lifesaving work has helped drive down the youth smoking rate from 23% in 2000 to a historic low of 3.7% in 2019 by preventing millions of young people from becoming smokers. We are equally committed to achieving the same results in ending the youth e-cigarette epidemic. Formerly known as the American Legacy Foundation, Truth Initiative was established and funded through the landmark 1998 Master Settlement Agreement, the largest civil litigation settlement in U.S. history, which resulted in tobacco companies paying states and territories compensation for tobacco-related diseases and losses to local economies. Truth Initiative is also contributing to ending the opioid misuse epidemic by sharing our expertise in youth and young adult education and prevention. To learn more, visit www.truthinitiative.org.
 Amanda L Graham, PhD, Megan A Jacobs, MPH, Michael S Amato, PhD, Engagement and 3-Month Outcomes From a Digital E-Cigarette Cessation Program in a Cohort of 27 000 Teens and Young Adults, Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Volume 22, Issue 5, May 2020, Pages 859–860, https://doi.org/10.1093/ntr/ntz097 .
JCC To Hold Information Sessions: Nursing, SUNY Upstate Pathway, Military-Affiliated
Jefferson Community College will hold program-specific information sessions in-person and virtually via Zoom on October 10, October 16, and November 29, 2023, respectively. Information sessions will begin at 5:30 p.m.