Grand Canyon University Partnerships in the Fight Against Tobacco Use

A woman smoking outside

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and illness around the world. According to the American Cancer Society, one in five deaths in the United States are caused by cigarette smoking. Quitting smoking is not easy and it does not happen overnight. However, there are many benefits to quitting. Two weeks to three months after quitting, your circulation improves and your lung function increases. After one year of being smoke-free, your heart attack risk drops dramatically. Ten years after quitting smoking, your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who still smokes.


“You don’t have to quit smoking in one day. Start with day one.” – American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout was on November 15. For over 40 years, the American Cancer Society has hosted the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November as an opportunity for smokers to commit to healthy, smoke-free lives. We encourage you to make a plan to quit. Having a plan of action and using supportive tools and resources can increase your chances of success and living a smoke-free life. For more information, tools and resources for quitting smoking, visit the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout page.

Your efforts to quit smoking are dramatically improved if you live and work in an environment that is smoke-free. Since 2016, GCU has partnered with IGNITE, a tobacco education program of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, to promote a tobacco free GCU campus. IGNITE, which stands for Influence, Guide, Network for Intercollegiate Tobacco Education, focuses on raising awareness of the risks of tobacco and education projects supporting policies and advocacy efforts on college campuses in Maricopa County.

Together with IGNITE, the College of Nursing & Health Care Professions applied for a grant from the American Cancer Society Tobacco Free Generation Initiative, supported by the CVS Health Foundation. In November 2018, we were awarded $20,000 to accelerate and expand the adoption and implementation of 100 percent tobacco-free policy on the GCU main campus. This grant will support efforts to advocate for, adopt and implement a 100 percent tobacco-free policy, affecting all grounds and properties on the main GCU campus. Activities related to the grant will include:

  • Forming a taskforce – made up of students, staff, faculty, administration
  • Assessing tobacco-related behavior, attitudes, support for policy, etc. – survey, focus groups, interviews
  • Education and engagement of campus community on need for/benefits of tobacco-free policy
  • Plan for addressing tobacco cessation needs
  • Developing a policy recommendation for 100 percent tobacco-free policy to present to key decision-makers

The College of Nursing & Health Care Professions is committed to promoting a healthy, smoke-free campus for GCU students, employees, and visitors. For more information about efforts to implement a 100 percent tobacco free policy on campus, please contact Assistant Professor, Veronica Perez at

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

Scroll back to top