CHICAGO, IL | August 5, 2021
As students return to in-person learning, schools are bracing to respond to the ongoing youth vaping epidemic as a result of post pandemic stress, peer pressure and more. To equip schools with resources to prevent and reduce youth vaping, the American Lung Association is proud to support and provide training through its new Vape-Free Schools Initiative. 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 to access the Lung Association’s proven vaping intervention and cessation programs.
“Parents, communities and schools want resources to help address youth vaping,” said American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer. “The vaping/tobacco industries aggressively target youth, setting them up for a lifetime of addiction to nicotine. With close to 1 in 5 teens currently vaping, it is urgent that we address this issue and help students and schools become vape-free. We’re seeking partners to fund scholarships for schools to implement these programs, so that they can help kids beat nicotine addiction and provide an alternative to suspension.”
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.
“We hope every school nationwide has access to this program, and in our ongoing work to address health disparities, helping schools at higher risk or in certain communities of color is a priority,” said Wimmer.
Laura Dern, award-winning actress, a mother of teens and advisor to the American Lung Association Board of Directors, is lending her voice to this effort. “As a mom to two teenagers, I’m proud to stand with the American Lung Association as they launch this important scholarship drive to support schools, parents and students. The Vape-Free Schools Initiative will be an important resource as kids go back to in-person learning and the stress of being back and the peer pressure around vaping resumes,” said Laura Dern.
Dern will raise awareness by encouraging parents, like her, to make sure their local school is aware of the Vape-Free Initiative and encourage donations to fund scholarships for schools to implement cessation and alternative to suspension programs.
Participating schools will be recognized as a member of the American Lung Association Vape-Free Schools Initiative participate and a leader student health. Those schools will be listed on the Lung.org website and will receive a toolkit of resources, including signage for their campus windows/doors and a letter of commendation from the American Lung Association.
To make a donation, visit Lung.org/scholarship. To get more information about the Vape-Free Schools Initiative or submit your school for scholarship consideration, visit Lung.org/vape-free-schools or contact [email protected]. To speak with a lung health expert about e-cigarettes and vaping cessation, contact Elizabeth Cook at [email protected] or 312-801-7631.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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