PORTLAND, Ore. and DALLAS, November 10, 2020 – According to the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey, 20% of high school students and 5% of middle school students reported using e-cigarettes within the last 30 days. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an even greater need for resources to support the well-being and social-emotional skills of students.
The CVS Health Foundation, a private charitable organization created by CVS Health, provided a grant to the American Heart Association, the leading global volunteer organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke, and to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (Healthier Generation) to launch the Tobacco-Free Schools Initiative – a national program that reinforces supportive learning environments that center on tobacco-use cessation and prevention.
“Youth vaping is one of the biggest obstacles we face in helping to create the first tobacco-free generation,” said Eileen Howard Boone, SVP of Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy, CVS Health and President, CVS Health Foundation. “Coming together with the American Heart Association and Healthier Generation allows us to support schools – who are on the frontlines of the battle against vaping – and give them the tools they need to be even more effective in preventing and addressing tobacco and e-cigarette use among young people.”
As most youth typically spend the majority of their days in a learning environment, schools play a vital role in bolstering student health. The Tobacco-Free Schools Initiative provides anti-vaping and cessation resources – at no cost – to ensure school leaders and youth are supported in living tobacco-free lives.
Current evidence shows that punitive measures, like suspension, do little to curb the use of tobacco products and disproportionally impact students of color. As a part of the initiative, Healthier Generation and the American Heart Association developed a new Tobacco-Free District Model Policy that details restorative practices such as education and counseling, in lieu of punitive responses, for tobacco use. It also provides resources that support tobacco-free learning environments, such as assessments and links to school-based curriculums.
“Big Tobacco is losing, but it won’t go down without a fight. While traditional cigarette consumption by youth in the U.S. is at an all-time low (5%), nearly 33% percent of high school students are actively using e-cigarette products and have increased use of menthol and disposable e-cigarettes,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association. “With 3.6 million young people using e-cigarettes, our young persons’ health is at great risk. Together with the CVS Health Foundation and Healthier Generation, we are providing resources and solutions to combat this epidemic.”
“Healthier Generation is proud to join with long-time national leaders like the CVS Health Foundation and American Heart Association in the fight against youth vaping and tobacco use,” said Kathy Higgins, chief executive officer of Healthier Generation. “For too long, our schools have been left to manage the vaping epidemic without the benefit of effective, evidenced-based policies and best practices and we urgently needed to fill that void.”
The Tobacco-Free Schools Initiative provides school and district leaders immediate and direct, online access to the following:
- Tobacco-Free District Model Policy that promotes supportive disciplinary practices and alternatives to suspension
- Tobacco-Free District Assessment that helps districts identify opportunities to update or strengthen their current tobacco policies and practices
- Technical assistance and support to guide leaders in creating sustainable change
- On-demand webinars to help educators grow and sustain a tobacco-free culture of health, and
- Evidence-based strategies and resources.
This new commitment is part of Be The First, CVS Health's five-year, $50 million initiative to help deliver the nation's first tobacco-free generation. For more information about the Tobacco-Free Schools Initiative, or to access the new Tobacco-Free District Model Policy, please visit www.heart.org/antivaping or http://www.healthiergeneration.org/antivaping.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
About the CVS Health Foundation
The CVS Health Foundation is a private charitable organization created by CVS Health that works to build healthier communities, enabling people of all ages to lead healthy, productive lives. The Foundation provides strategic investments to nonprofits throughout the U.S. who help increase community-based access to health care for underserved populations, create innovative approaches to chronic disease management and provide tobacco cessation and youth prevention programming. We also invest in scholarship programs that open the pathways to careers in pharmacy to support the academic aspirations of the best and brightest talent in the industry. Our philanthropy also extends to supporting our colleagues' spirit of volunteerism through Volunteer Challenge Grants to nonprofits where they donate their time and fundraising efforts. To learn more about the CVS Health Foundation and its giving, visit www.cvshealth.com/social-responsibility.
About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation believes every child deserves a healthy future. For more than 15 years, Healthier Generation has empowered kids to develop lifelong healthy habits by ensuring the environments that surround them provide and promote good health. Driven by our passion that all young people deserve a chance to live healthier lives, our work, in total, has reached more than 29 million kids across the country. To learn more and help make a difference, visit HealthierGeneration.org and join us on Facebook and Twitter.
For Media Inquiries:
American Heart Association
Tracie Bertaut, APR: 504-722-1695, firstname.lastname@example.org
For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)
Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Krista Washington: 919-418-2993, email@example.com
CVS Health Foundation
Erin Britt: 401-318-3962, firstname.lastname@example.org