CVS Health Foundation announces grant awards to curb youth tobacco use


WOONSOCKET, R.I. — The CVS Health Foundation, a private foundation created by CVS Health, has announced the first four grant recipients in its "Making the Next Generation Tobacco-Free" grant program — a five-year, $5 million partnership with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

This announcement coincides with Kick Butts Day, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and mobilize their communities. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids strives to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world.

"We're excited to celebrate Kick Butts Day by showing our commitment to helping young people lead tobacco-free lives in partnership with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids," stated Eileen Howard Boone, president of the CVS Health Foundation. "We are proud to support the dedicated work of these grantees who share our goal to educate young people about the dangers of tobacco in the hopes of making the next generation tobacco-free."

Every day, more than 2,800 kids under the age of 18 nationwide try smoking for the first time, and 2.7 million high school students in the United States still smoke. Through the "Making the Next Generation Tobacco-Free" grant program, the CVS Health Foundation and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids aim to reduce youth tobacco use, especially among at-risk populations, educate the public about the problem of and solutions to youth tobacco use in local communities and increase youth engagement in tobacco-prevention activities. The first group of 2015 grants awarded today includes:

BREATHE California of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles

BREATHE California plans to reach approximately 8,000 third- to eighth-grade students throughout Los Angeles County as part of the "No to Tobacco" prevention program, which focuses on underserved populations. The program includes educational modules on lung health, the cost of tobacco, and providing youth with the confidence and skills they need to lead a tobacco-free life.

California School-Based Health Alliance, Oakland, Calif. 

California School-Based Health Alliance will increase the capacity of school-based health centers to implement youth-led tobacco prevention programs and educate kids throughout California. Currently, 10.5% of high school students in California smoke and 21,300 kids under the age of 18 become daily smokers each year. With this grant, California School-Based Health Alliance plans to provide training for SBHC staff and reach 2,000 youth with tobacco-prevention education.

Health Promotion Council of Southeastern PA, Philadelphia 

Health Promotion Council of Southeastern PA plans to expand its Advocacy Institute, which provides training for youth-led public health advocacy. The expansion will bring the AI into additional counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, increase membership in the AI Alumni Network, and allow the council to host a Youth Leadership Summit that will train additional youth on tobacco prevention and control.

Ohio Public Health Partnership, Columbus, Ohio

Ohio Public Health Partnership plans to educate lawmakers and the public to support an increase in the Ohio tobacco tax, equalize the tax on other tobacco products, and designate 12 cents of every $1 of the proposed tax increase for tobacco-use prevention and cessation. In Ohio, 15.1% of high school students smoke and an additional 12,500 kids under the age of 18 become daily smokers each year. To help resolve this issue, OPHP will implement tobacco-prevention and cessation programs that target youth, pregnant women and other high-priority individuals.

"We know that most adult smokers began smoking at a very young age. Through our partnership with the CVS Health Foundation, we're one step closer to our shared mission to make the next generation tobacco-free," stated Matthew Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "With the support of these grants, community partners will be able to expand the tobacco prevention resources they're able to offer local youth and activate youth to reduce tobacco-use."

Last year, CVS Health announced that all CVS/pharmacy locations across the country would stop selling tobacco products and launched a smoking cessation program that has since helped more than 67,000 patients quit smoking. In addition, since the company's tobacco announcement, CVS Health has announced more than $1 million in grants to tobacco-cessation organizations and launched a five-year, $5 million partnership with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids through the CVS Health Foundation. 

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