WDAY Midday In-Depth: Senior Director of Health Promotions for the Lung Association Pat McKone

Greg goes 1-on-1 with Senior Director of Health Promotions for the Lung Association Pat McKone on the Vape-Free Schools Scholarship Fund, which is being built to help steer North Dakota teens clear of vaping and other tobacco-based products. More info on the scholarship can be found in the story below.


Currently, nearly 1 in 5 teens are vaping and close to 1 in 4 teens are using at least one tobacco product – becoming the next generation addicted to tobacco. In North Dakota, our high school tobacco use rates are an alarming 35.5%. We are proud to share that today, the American Lung Association announced the Vape-Free Schools Scholarship Fund, a new effort to fund schools’ implementation of the Vape-Free Schools Initiative so that more kids can access cessation, support and education.

The scholarship drive seeks to raise funds to give schools across the country access to the program. With a cost of $400 per training seat, the goal is to raise $400,000 to serve 1,000 schools in need by the end of 2021. Through this scholarship drive, the Lung Association will enable faculty and students in North Dakota to access the Lung Association’s proven vaping intervention and cessation programs.

“With 35.5% of North Dakota high school students using tobacco products, our communities need help to support students impacted by tobacco use. As the nation’s trusted champion of lung health, the American Lung Association is proud to off offer North Dakota schools, parents and students proven approaches to end youth vaping in our communities and help local students quit their addiction and prevent future generations from getting hooked,” said James Martinez, spokesperson for the American Lung Association in North Dakota.

The Vape-Free Schools Initiative provides school administrators and educators with training to offer an alternative-to-suspension program for students found vaping, smoking or chewing on school property, and a voluntary vaping/tobacco cessation program for youth wanting to quit for good.

  • Alternative to Suspension (INDEPTH®) an alternative for students who face suspension for violating school vaping and tobacco use policies. As teens continue to get hooked on vaping, this is a supportive program that teaches students about nicotine dependence and establishing healthy boundaries, rather than focusing solely on punitive measures.​​​​​​​
  • Vaping Education & Tobacco Cessation Program (Not-On-Tobacco® N-O-T) is a teen smoking/vaping cessation program for students that want to quit. The 10-session program provides the tools, information, and support for teens to end their addiction to tobacco. Participating schools will be recognized as part of the American Lung Association Vape-Free Schools Initiative in their communities.

To donate, click here.

To get more information about the Vape-Free Schools Initiative or submit your school for scholarship consideration, click here. 

Original Air Date: 
Monday, August 9, 2021