|September 19, 2013
Montana Collegiate Tobacco Prevention Initiative honored by National Smokeless and Spit Tobacco Summit
The Montana Collegiate Tobacco Initiative (MCTPI) received the Through With Chew Policy Award at the recent National Smokeless and Spit Tobacco Summit held on the University of Montana campus, Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) officials have announced.
The Through with Chew Policy award is presented to an individual or organization showing exceptional achievement in policy change specific to smokeless tobacco.
The MCTPI, coordinated by The BACCHUS Network and sponsored by the DPHHS Tobacco Use Prevention Program, is a movement to create healthier college campuses in Montana by reducing tobacco use and creating a safe environment through year-round comprehensive education and prevention activities, cessation services, and policy change. Each campus movement is led by an advisor and a group of dedicated students and assisted by a tobacco task force.
“I applaud Montana colleges for joining the effort to curb tobacco use among their students,” said DPHHS Director Richard Opper. “Currently, DPHHS tobacco use prevention efforts focus on reducing tobacco use among young adults age 18-24, including the frequent use of smokeless tobacco products. We also know that a quarter of students begin using tobacco or increase their use while in college. Thanks to the MCTPI, we’re hoping to change that trend.”
Montana Tech is one of the participating campuses. Advisor Joyce O’Neill said this program has been well-received among students. “Our most recent Tobacco Use and Attitude Survey which was completed spring, 2013 indicated that about 88 percent of non-users support the current tobacco-free policy and about 58 percent of tobacco users support the policy,” she said. “It also showed that almost half of the tobacco users made a quit attempt while at Tech and that students recognized the negative effects of second hand smoke. It is rewarding to see students identifying with the desire to have a healthy campus.”
MCTPI supported Montana Tech to become the first tobacco-free campus in Montana (July 2010) and assisted seven other higher education institutions to successfully implement tobacco-free policies. Campus tobacco-free policies prohibit the use, sale, or distribution of tobacco products (including spit, smokeless, chew, snuff) on all properties owned, operated, or leased by the institution implementing it.
MCTPI currently has 12 participating campuses in Montana, of which, seven have tobacco-free campuses including: Montana Tech-University of Montana, University of Montana, University of Montana Western, Montana State University, University of Montana – Helena College of Technology, Montana State University Billings, and Fort Peck Community College.
Having a tobacco-free campus also eliminates litter associated with tobacco use and creates an environment more conducive to quitting for tobacco users. For example, the tobacco-free policy at MSU-Billings has been associated with a 6 percent decrease in everyday smokeless use by college students; and 22 percent of students reported that the policy influenced them to quit or reduce their tobacco use.
The BACCHUS is a network of more than 8,000 student leaders and advisors who work with over 4 million peers on more than 330 campuses nationwide. The Network supports tobacco use prevention on campuses and with young adults.