Nobacco to offer $5000 in grants

by Kathleen McDermott | 2/9/00 6:00am

Nobacco will once again award $5,000 to campus groups who promote a non-smoking lifestyle or offer non-smoking social options.

The Dartmouth Cancer Awareness Group program will officially present the second Nobacco grant program today at 7 p.m. in the Collis Center for interested applicants.

Nobacco will award $5,000 in grants of up to $1,000 each to campus groups "to promote tobacco-free living within the group or even the entire campus," said Cancer Awareness President Gary Maslow '00.

Last year the group gave out $10,000 to 17 organizations, including the sponsoring of a smoke-free party at Alpha Delta fraternity, a tobacco satire issue of the Jack-O-Lantern and Asgard public service announcements.

According to Maslow, last year "all the programs were well attended and well received," and this year the group expects more responses and even more creative ideas.

At the meeting they will describe the application process, discuss funding guidelines and distribute applications. Grant winners will be announced March 8th and funds will be used during the Spring term. In the following terms the group will hold focus groups to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs.

Nobacco grants are funded through the Anne Almy Fund of the Hitchcock Foundation, created by Drs. Katherine Swift and Thomas Almy. Their daughter, Anne Almy, died of lung cancer at 49 after starting to smoke in prep school due to peer pressures. Their fund sponsors programs like Nobacco to address the alarming increase in youth smoking, particularly among Dartmouth undergraduates.

Although students are aware of the dangers of smoking, too many still decide to smoke, Maslow said. A study conducted in the spring of 1997 by John Pryor, coordinator of evaluation and research at the College, found that 49 percent of students had smoked at least once in the past year, representing a significant increase from 43 percent in 1995.

What is of concern to Director of Community Health Education Katherine Coburn, an advisor to Nobacco, is the great increase in "social smoking" among Dartmouth students. Students smoke at parties and believe they will be able to quit after college, something which statistically is very unlikely, according to Coburn.

"The number of students who are smoking regularly and to relax has went way up in the last five years," Coburn said.

The national percentage of college students who said they smoked is 39 percent, according to a survey by the National Institute of Drug Abuse in 1995.

Maslow said Nobacco hopes to curtail the rise in tobacco use at Dartmouth by sending a positive message of the benefits of not smoking and by funding non-smoking social options.

Nobacco believes each campus organization can best decide how to provide a positive tobacco-free environment, Maslow said.

"Only Dartmouth students can reduce smoking on the Dartmouth campus. Most students do not listen when doctors, parents and other authority figures speak about the dangers of tobacco, but perhaps they will listen when the message is coming from peers," Maslow said.