NIC awarded $19,538 grant to support anti-tobacco efforts

North Idaho College has been awarded a $19,538 grant to support the goal of making the college a tobacco-free campus.

Truth Initiative, the largest nonprofit public health organization in the United States dedicated to eradicating tobacco use, awarded the two-year grant as part of its Tobacco-Free College program.

“North Idaho College is honored to receive the Truth Initiative’s Tobacco-Free College grant. The grant will help fund a student-driven initiative to develop and propose an NIC tobacco-free policy for the college,” said Tim Gerlitz, NIC director of Student Disability, Health and Counseling Services. “During policy development, we plan to engage all interested parties to include students, staff, faculty and our surrounding communities.”

A subcommittee of the NIC Alcohol and Other Drug Group will create a tobacco cessation, prevention and education permanent standing subcommittee, which will include students, staff and faculty. The NIC community will be able to share their input via surveys and workshops as the subcommittee develops the new policy.

“In addition to developing an NIC tobacco-free campus policy, NIC Student Health Services is committed to providing smoking cessation support and resources to those who would like to quit tobacco,” Gerlitz said. “The Center for Disease Control reports that twenty percent of high school graduates smoke cigarettes, which is one of the highest percentage groups of smokers; however, as the educational level increases, smoking rates decrease. Those who smoke with an associate’s degree decreases to 16 percent, undergraduate degrees further decline to 7 percent, and graduate degree students have the lowest smoking rates at 3.6 percent. Because of this correlation, the new policy will include a significant educational component regarding the real risks of tobacco use. “

The project will also focus on prevention and cessation, establishing annual events and providing educational materials. By spring 2019, tobacco cessation education and information centers will be installed across all of NIC’s campuses, as well as tobacco-free signage.

“The CDC notes that cigarette smoking causes about one of every five deaths in the U.S. each year – more than 480,000 deaths annually are attributed to smoking including 41,000 deaths caused by exposure to secondhand smoke,” Gerlitz said. “North Idaho College is committed to creating a healthy campus experience for everyone and the Truth Initiative Tobacco-Free College grant will help us move toward this goal.”

Information: Tim Gerlitz, NIC director of Student Disability, Health and Counseling Services, (208) 769-7794 or

Posted: Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018

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