Nation’s first Anti-Vaping barn completed along Route 20

MERCER COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – The nation’s first anti-vaping barn was unveiled near Athens today.

“It’s become a really big issue with youths, especially in high school and middle school,” said Candace Harless, the coordinator for Drug-Free Communities. “We’re trying to get awareness out about the health issues that go along with vaping. It’s a little bit different from tobacco. It still has nicotine, which is an addictive substance that affects the brain, especially for youths.”

The initiative to paint barns to encourage healthy practices started over a decade ago. Since then, West Virginia has been home to several “first barns” delivering a variety of health messages. The newest barn encourages the public to stop vaping.

“There are several people I see that use it,” said barn owner Steven Johnston. “Of course, I don’t see many locally until you get into town, but I see several in Athens and in Princeton.”

You can spot the barn on the side of Route 20 between Athens and Pipestem.

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.