March 29, 2018
NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announces it has received a $15,000 grant from the American Cancer Society, Inc., in support of “Tobacco-Free MCLA.” The project aims to develop a 100 percent tobacco-free policy across the campus within one year, in recognition of the importance and implications that tobacco can have on the health of MCLA students, faculty and staff.

To address the issue of premature death from cigarette smoking, the American Cancer Society, under the direction of its new Center for Tobacco Control, launched the “Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative” to accelerate and expand the adoption and implementation of 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free policies on college and university campuses across the nation.

MCLA has approved a tobacco-free policy, to take effect this fall, that will prohibit smoking and other tobacco use on all property owned or operated by the College. This policy – which aims to provide a healthy living, learning, and working environment for the campus community – is intended to reduce the health risks related to second-hand smoke, as well as other adverse effects of smoke and other tobacco use.

According to Catherine Holbrook, MCLA’s vice president for student affairs and dean of students, the College is proud to support this initiative and is fully committed to becoming a tobacco-free campus.

“The project is being managed by an implementation team of MCLA faculty, staff and students, which will carry out activities to inform its 100 percent tobacco-free policy,” Holbrook said. “An environmental scan to assess tobacco issues already has been completed, and research into cessation services and resources available in the area is being gathered.

“The team will raise awareness of the services and resources available, and hold several events throughout the spring to educate the campus community about going tobacco-free and to promote the new policy,” Holbrook added.

According to the American Cancer Society, of the roughly 20 million college and university students in the United States, more than 1 million are projected to die prematurely from cigarette smoking. While approximately 90 percent of smokers start by age 18, fully 99 percent start by age 26, underscoring the importance of supporting those in the young adult age group with more effective prevention and cessation efforts, while eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke and all tobacco use in their learning environments.

This initiative is supported by the CVS Health Foundation, the private foundation of CVS Health, whose purpose is helping people on their path to better health. The CVS Health Foundation is committed to supporting initiatives that help people lead tobacco-free lives and creating the first tobacco-free generation.

With these far-reaching goals in mind, CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation recently announced their #BeTheFirst initiative, a five-year, $50 million commitment to deliver the first tobacco-free generation. In addition to grants, awardees will receive technical assistance throughout the policy planning and implementation process. Technical assistance will be provided through webinars, online resources and limited one-on-one consultations.

Established in 1913, the American Cancer Society is the largest nationwide community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service.

The creation of the Society’s new Center for Tobacco Control reflects its enhanced focus on combating the tobacco epidemic, which remains responsible for fully 30 percent of all cancer deaths in this country. While tobacco control and prevention efforts in the 50 years since the release of the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health have saved an estimated 8 million lives in the U.S., during the same period cigarette smoking cost our nation 20 million lives, including 2.5 million lives due to exposure to secondhand smoke, confirming tobacco’s relentless role as our nation’s leading preventable cause of death.

To read the full tobacco-free policy, go to

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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