WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 12, 2014 –Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) announced today that 33 colleges and universities are being certified “Free from Tobacco Money” in honor of their divestment from tobacco interests. This certification is also awarded in recognition of American Education Week. For the full list of those being certified, please visit http://ash.org/tobacco-free-schools/.
In 2005, the tobacco industry spent more than $1 million a day sponsoring events and giveaways targeting college students. Tobacco companies heavily target young adults ages 18 to 21 through a variety of marketing activities—such as music and sporting events, bar promotions, college marketing programs, college scholarships, and parties—because they know it is a critical time period for solidifying a tobacco addiction. Clearly, it works – in 2010, 24.8% of college students categorized themselves as “current smokers,” far higher than the national prevalence for adults (18.1%).
Smoking continues to kill more Americans than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined. Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death worldwide. Left unchecked, tobacco use will kill 1 billion people in the 21st century.
“Universities should not profit from tobacco addictions and death,” said Laurent Huber, Executive Director of Action on Smoking and Health. “The money students spend bettering themselves should not be invested in projects that have such a negative impact on the health of students and of people around the world. By divesting from tobacco funds, these schools are doing their part in the fight against tobacco.”
ASH awards this certification in gratitude and acknowledgement of the commitment these colleges and universities have made to stand with health, and ASH encourages schools that have not divested to consider divestment as a way to fight the tobacco epidemic.
ACTION ON SMOKING AND HEALTH
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is the nation’s oldest anti-tobacco organization dedicated to health for all. ASH was formed in 1967 in response to the U.S. Surgeon General Report in order to use legal action to fight tobacco and protect nonsmokers. Today, because tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, ASH uses global tools to counter the global tobacco epidemic. Learn more about our programs at www.ash.org.