By Aaron K. Nelson
On Saturday, Johnson Central High School’s HOSA Future Health Professionals team, “Team Truth,” took their campaign of preventing underage vaping to the HOSA Spring Leadership Conference in Louisville, taking the state championship with their efforts.
The team, comprised of JCHS students Colby Little, Dalton Woody and Logan Woody, began their efforts to curb youth vaping to Johnson County Judge-Executive Mark McKenzie, and then on to Frankfort, where Senators Brandon Smith and Johnny Ray Turner helped them make February “Vape Out Day” across the Commonwealth.
In the HOSA team competition, Mary Beth Castle with the Johnson County Health Department said the team placed first, making them each statewide champions for their work.
“I am super excited that these young men decided to take on this initiative,” Castle said. “It’s something that is definitely a big concern in our area, and the rest of the state and U.S. as well — that they care enough to make the community aware, especially the vaping problem in their own age group.”
Castle said that the team’s message was aimed at all young adults, as research shows nicotine can hamper brain development, a process which actually is not finished until around age 25. She said recent research showed some vaping devices could hold as much nicotine as nine packs of cigarettes.
Nicotine, Castle said, has been labeled by the American Lung Association to be just as addictive as heroin or cocaine.
With the state title, JCHS’ HOSA “Team Truth” has earned an invitation to the HOSA International Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida in June.