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Scott Bigelow | 910.521.6351 | scott.bigelow@uncp.edu
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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

UNCP’s Counseling Center receives grant to reduce student tobacco use

The N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund (HWTF) announced the award of a $39,290 tobacco use prevention and cessation grant to The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. The grant is part of the first state-funded effort to prevent and reduce tobacco use among college-age youth in the state.

SymbolAs part of this initiative, a total of $1.6 million was awarded over two years to 20 colleges, community colleges, health departments and organizations across the state. UNCP will work to establish smoke-free policies on campus and to promote the new, “Tobacco Use Quitline” (1-800-QUIT-NOW) to 18-24 year olds. By awarding these grants, HWTF is addressing the trend of increased tobacco use among this age group.

Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and North Carolina. Despite this fact, according to Center for Disease Control, almost 28 percent of college-age youth in North Carolina smoke, and 18-24 year olds represent the only age group nationally in which smoking rates are rising rather than falling. Young adults aged 18-25 continue to have the highest rate of current use of a tobacco product among all age groups.

“Our campus’s goal is to examine tobacco use, perceptions, and policies, then develop an action plan to educate students on the health consequences of tobacco addiction and its impact on the community,” said Dr. Monica Osburn, director of UNCP’s Counseling and Testing Center. “We will also promote tobacco cessation among our students.”

Dr. Osburn, who initiated the grant, said tobacco use is a national problem, and “one that is prominent right here on our campus. We need to do whatever it takes to reach students and educate them as well as assist them to fight this rising health crisis.”

The N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund aids North Carolina by funding programs that promote preventive health. Created by the General Assembly in 2000 to allocate a portion of North Carolina's share of the national tobacco settlement, the fund has invested $127 million to support preventive health initiatives and $78 million to fund a prescription drug assistance program. For more information, please visit www.HealthWellNC.com.

For questions about UNCP’s tobacco cessation program, please call the Counseling and Testing Center at 910.521.6202 or email monica.osburn@uncp.edu.

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