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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. 1,2 While approximately 90% of smokers start by age 18, fully 99% 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. 3

To address this critical need, the American Cancer Society, under the direction of its Center for Tobacco Control, launched the Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI), which provides generous grants to accelerate and expand the adoption and implementation of 100% smoke- and tobacco-free policies on college and university campuses across the nation.

This initiative is being 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. With these far-reaching goals in mind, CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation announced their #BeTheFirst initiative, a five-year, $50 million commitment to deliver the first tobacco-free generation.

In addition to grants, awardees will receive customized technical assistance, and other resources throughout the duration of the grant.


The creation of the American Cancer Society’s Center for Tobacco Control reflects our priority focus on combating the tobacco epidemic, which causes fully 30% of all cancer deaths in the United States and is our nation’s leading preventable cause of death, overall. While tobacco control and prevention efforts in the half-century 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 a devastating 20 million lives, including 2.5 million lives due to exposure to secondhand smoke. In recognition of this ongoing public health challenge, the American Cancer Society launched the new Center to play a leadership role, domestically and globally, in accelerating the reduction of tobacco use and elimination of tobacco-caused cancers and death.

Among the Center’s top priorities are the adoption and implementation of policies requiring smoke- and tobacco-free in all workplaces, public places, and other important venues such as multi-unit residential settings.



3 U.S. Surgeon General Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2012, U.S. Surgeon General The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2014,