Johnson County Mental Health Center’s annual youth conference to focus on vaping prevention

Health officials in Johnson County have been raising the alarm about the widespread use of e-cigarettes among teens in recent months. Photo credit Lacey Krusmark via Used under a Creative Commons license.

The Johnson County Mental Health Center’s annual Youth Leadership Summit this year will focus on a topic that’s been getting increasing attention from area health officials: teen vaping.

The event, which will bring approximately 200 student leaders from middle and high schools across the county next week, will focus on preventing the use of e-cigarettes among youth. Area health officials, including the director of health services for the Shawnee Mission School District, have noted a sharp increase in the use of vaping devices among teens in recent years. Shelby Rebeck said this month that vaping had become an “epidemic” among students. Many students find they have become addicted to nicotine not long after starting, and can’t quit even when they want to.

The keynote speaker at the Youth Leadership Summit, which will be held at the Cleveland University campus in Overland Park next Friday, Aug. 30, will be Jordan Roberts, youth prevention program manager for Kansas Department of Health and Environment. She will focus on vaping prevention.

The summit will also have information on reducing underage alcohol and drug use as well as suicide prevention.

“We believe in the power of young people to make a positive difference in our community and want to invest in providing skills and opportunities to infuse prevention throughout Johnson County,” says Shana Burgess, director of prevention services and community relations. “This is a collaborative effort to promote good health and positive choices for our middle and high school students.”