The universities receiving grants of $24,000 each includes the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. The three school districts receiving $45,000 grants are Custer, Mitchell and Watertown.
"These grants will allow universities and school districts to explore ways to improve and promote tobacco control on their campuses," said Dr. Gail Gray, director of the Division of Health and Medical Services." Funds may be used to establish tobacco-free policies for buildings and grounds as well as for planning and implementing innovative tobacco prevention programs through campus organizations and activities. In addition, the resources can also be used to further incorporate tobacco prevention and cessation into their academic programs.
According to data collected by Department of Health and the Department of Education, 28 percent of high school students and 6 percent of middle school students are current smokers. In addition, according to data gathered from the Department of Health's Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System in 2004, 26.1 percent of young adults ages 18-24 currently smoke cigarettes.
The Department of Health's tobacco control program coordinates state efforts to prevent young people from starting to use tobacco products, help current tobacco users quit and reduce non-smokers' exposure to second-hand smoke.