Tobacco use continues to be a major public health issue at the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and those surrounding communities. Because of the greater freedom associated with college life, many students who never used tobacco products while in high school may begin to experiment with tobacco products. Intensive tobacco marketing aimed at this college aged and minority populations dwarf our existing prevention efforts. Recent studies have shown that the use of flavored cigars, cigarillos and little cigars and electronic cigarettes are on the rise. This rise and use and shift in product marketing make the push for the Tobacco-Free Campus Initiative at Historically Black Campuses and Universities and surrounding communities a public health priority.
Access to Wholistic and Productive Living Institute Inc., (AWPLI) has received a two year grant from the National REACH Coalition funded through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to create the Regional African American Tobacco Control Networks (RAATCN) to address tobacco control needs on HBCU campuses, in ethnic minority and low income communities. Access to Wholistic and Productive Living Institute (AWPLI) Inc., is a nonprofit 501©3 with a 10 year history in delivering tobacco control services, training leaders, and developing networks and coalitions in the African American community. AWPLI has also worked on several state and local health departments’ tobacco control initiatives. AWPLI will be partnering with the State of Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) – Tobacco Control and Minority Health and Health Disparities Programs on this initiative.
The goal of the RAATCN is to reduce tobacco use and associated disabilities and deaths among African Americans, other ethnic minorities and low socioeconomic communities by enhancing communication and broadening policy approaches on campuses and surrounding communities.
AWPLI has partnered with Morgan State University, Bowie State University, Sojourner Douglas College, Coppin State University, University of Maryland –Eastern Shore, Associated Black Charities – Dorchester County, Asian American Center of Frederick the United Black Clergy of Anne Arundel County to be one of the network hubs and conduct tobacco control campaigns with us.
The Maryland Regional African American Tobacco Control Networks Initiative will have a Community Leadership Team. The Community Leadership Team (CLT) is a core group of 8-10 members. One from each partnering organization and two at large members. They will meet 4-5 times yearly and guide this initiative. The CLT is supported by an advisory group of (5-6) AWPLI and state health department staff and at large partners. To learn even more about the RAATCN, please download the RAATCN booklet (which includes the fact sheet) here.