Legacy, the public health organization responsible for the national truth® smoking prevention campaign, has selected Moraine Valley Community College as one of only 38 community colleges across the country to receive a $5,000 grant to assist in promoting the college’s tobacco-free policy going into effect on July 1.

The ban is a result of a new state law, passed in August 2014, preventing tobacco use on all public university and college campuses in Illinois. Smoking on Moraine Valley’s campus will only be allowed inside personal vehicles.

A Tobacco-Free Task Force, composed of a cross-section of college employees, has been working to make Moraine Valley tobacco-free since 2012. The task force has assessed tobacco use and attitudes on the campus, developed a free treatment plan for current smokers, and created the Clean Air Policy to be in accordance with state law.

The task force is using the funds from the Legacy grant to print communication materials about the new policy, including signs for campus entrances, posters, handouts, and ads in the student newspaper, “The Glacier,” as well as promote its smoking cessation program to students, employees and community members.

“Our past student leaders were the first people on campus to push for a no-smoking policy, and the college responded by assembling this task force. Over the last few years, we have listened to the needs of smokers and non-smokers alike. Once the state banned tobacco products on college campuses, our goal became very clear,” said Dr. Normah Salleh-Barone, vice president of Student Development and co-chair of the Tobacco-Free Task Force. “Our work now is aimed at educating our campus community about the new law and helping people quit smoking. I am confident the work of the task force, along with help from partners such as Legacy, will set up our students, employees and community members who visit our campus to successfully navigate the law and our college policy.”

Currently, more than 1,500 higher education institutions in the United States have gone smoke- or tobacco-free, including 330 community colleges. Through its first round of grants, the Legacy Community College Initiative hopes to reach more than a half-million community college students and nearly 40,000 faculty/staff across 18 states.

“With 99 percent of smokers starting before age 27, college campuses are critical platforms for preventing young adults from starting tobacco use, aiding those current tobacco users in quitting and reducing exposure to secondhand smoke for all,” said Robin Koval, CEO and president of Legacy. “We are looking forward to supporting Moraine Valley’s efforts to make smoking and tobacco use a thing of the past,” she added.

For more information on Moraine Valley’s Clean Air Policy, visit morainevalley.edu/tobacco. For more information on the Legacy grant, visit legacyforhealth.org/ccigrant.

For news media inquiries, call Jessica Crotty, College and Community Relations coordinator, at (708) 974-5281, or e-mail her at crotty@morainevalley.edu.