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Santiago Canyon College Receives Truth Initiative Grant


(Orange, California) – Santiago Canyon College (SCC) was one of 48 colleges and universities to be awarded a grant from Truth Initiative® to adopt a 100 percent smoke and tobacco-free campus policy. The effort is part of a national movement among students, faculty and administrators to address smoking and tobacco use at college campuses throughout the U.S.

SCC President, Dr. John Hernandez endorsed health education and advocacy for lifelong good health as part of the mission statement for Student Health Services at SCC. “It is our hope to carry on the intent of the Truth Initiative Grant to make Santiago Canyon College, part of the Rancho Santiago Community College District a smoke and tobacco free campus.”

Ninety-nine percent of all smokers start smoking before the age of 26, making college campuses a critical part in the fight against youth tobacco use. Since 2015, the Truth Initiative Tobacco-Free College Program, in partnership with CVS Health, awarded more than $1.8 million in funding to 154 colleges and universities to prevent young adults from starting tobacco use, help tobacco smokers quit and reduce everyone’s exposure to secondhand smoke.

“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, HBCUs, women’s colleges and community colleges to give them the tools to go tobacco free and be the generation that ends smoking.”

Santiago Canyon College efforts are part of a growing trend to clean the air on campuses. Currently, more than 2,342 higher education institutions in the United States have gone smoke- or tobacco-free.

Besides helping to reduce smoking rates, smoke- and tobacco-free policies also change attitudes toward tobacco products and address emerging products such as e-cigarettes. E-cigarette use has surged over the last year, especially among young people. Nearly seven percent of college students ages 19 to 28 reported having used an e-cigarette that contains nicotine in the past 30 days and one study showed that 66 percent of college students are in favor of policies prohibiting e-cigarette use on campus. The spread of e-cigarettes risks a reversal of the progress made in reducing smoking over the last two decades given that young people who vape are four times more likely to begin smoking cigarettes in the future. Instead of fueling adults to quit, e-cigarettes may be turning back the clock on progress in the fight against tobacco and addicting a new generation to nicotine.

These latest data show, 38 million Americans ages 18 and above still smoke and tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable death in this country. Research also shows that there are dire health consequences for nonsmokers too. Secondhand smoke exposure causes cancer and cardiovascular disease among other secondhand smoke diseases, which are responsible for more than 41,000 deaths among nonsmoking adults in the U.S.

Of the roughly 20 million college and university students in the U.S., more than 1 million have been projected to die prematurely from cigarette smoking and its effects. Over the next 16 months, Santiago Canyon College will form a campus task force that will assess tobacco use behaviors and attitudes, identify a treatment plan for current smokers and develop a smoke and tobacco-free policy. Students Kristine Cornejo and Solomon Jones were selected in February 2019 as exemplary student leaders in a Santiago Canyon College-wide competitive application process open to all students. These two students will attend field advocacy training at Truth Initiative in Washington DC to develop and lead educational efforts to build a movement to become a tobacco-free campus.

After participation in the program, these institutions of higher education are poised to join a growing movement that will protect more than 1.3 million students and 285,000 employees in over 39 states.

A 100 percent tobacco-free policy prohibits the use of any tobacco product, such as cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, small cigars, pipes, hookah, smokeless tobacco (otherwise known as dip, chew, snuff, spit and snus) and other smokeless products and e-cigarettes. A comprehensive smoke and tobacco-free policy could also address tobacco sales, marketing, sponsorship and investments at colleges. A 100 percent smoke-free policy is one that prohibits the use of smoke-producing tobacco, such as cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, small cigars, pipes and hookah, as well as e-cigarettes. These policies apply to anyone on campus and on any campus property. For more information on model campus policies, visit the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation.

About Santiago Canyon College
Santiago Canyon College (SCC) serves more than 17,000 credit and noncredit students each semester. In 2017, SCC was ranked #13 among the 50 Best Community Colleges in the U.S. by College Choice, a leading authority in college and university rankings and resources. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions and careers, and provides courses for personal and professional development, as well as customized training for business and industry. The college is recognized for its adult education program which keeps the working adult - and senior - in mind by offering flexible schedules, and community locations. Serving the residents of Anaheim Hills, Orange, Tustin, and Villa Park, SCC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.