BALTIMORE — The Coppin State University (CSU) Development Foundation has received a $20,000, 16-month Truth Initiative grant to support the adoption and implementation of a 100% tobacco/vape-free policy.

As part of a continued commitment to addressing tobacco as a social justice issue, the Truth Initiative Tobacco/Vape-Free College Program offers the funds to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions. Coppin State University (CSU) is one of 10 institutions to receive the Truth Initiative award as part of a national movement among students, faculty and administrators to address smoking, vaping and nicotine use at college campuses throughout the U.S. Truth Initiative is a national nonprofit dedicated to achieving a culture where young people reject smoking, vaping and nicotine–to adopt a 100% tobacco/vape-free campus policy.

Over the next 16 months, CSU will form a campus task force to assess smoking, vaping and tobacco use behaviors and attitudes, identify a cessation support plan for current smokers and vapers and develop a smoke, vape and tobacco-free policy. Two student leaders will also spearhead educational efforts to engage and mobilize their fellow students, building a movement to become a smoke, vape and tobacco-free campus. Coppin State University joins more than one hundred institutions that are working to protect a combined 1.1 million students and employees in 40 states.

“The grant and support from Truth Initiative will empower our students, staff and faculty to design and implement a tobacco and vape-free initiative that makes our campus environment safer for all,” said Aerian Tatum, CSU assistant professor of Health Information Management in the College of Health Professions.

“Tobacco use is a serious public health issue, but it is also a social justice issue given the disproportionate tobacco-related health outcomes experienced by Black Americans. We’re excited to hit the ground running alongside our community and our partners at Truth Initiative, to develop a plan for a tobacco and vape-free campus, and show that minority-serving institutions are leading the charge in realizing a future where young people choose lives free from nicotine,” said Dr. Yolanda Savoy, CSU assistant professor in the College of Health Professions.

Since 2015, Truth Initiative’s Tobacco/Vape-Free College Program has awarded more than $2.5 million in funding to 205 community colleges, women’s colleges, college systems, and minority-serving institutions including 59 HBCUs and 8 PBIs. With 99% of smokers initiating tobacco use before their 26th birthday, college campuses are critical in helping young people learn the facts about e-cigarettes and tobacco so that they can live healthier lives.