Thank someone who has quit smoking
This holiday season, I’d like to remind readers to thank a co-worker, friend or family member who has quit smoking, vaping, or using other nicotine delivery products. Many users say quitting is the hardest thing they have ever done and any amount of recognition can help someone stay quit.
Tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in Massachusetts. Nicotine is the very addictive substance in tobacco products as well as in e-cigarettes and vapes. As a result, repeated tobacco and nicotine use is not a habit, it’s an addiction that should be treated as a chronic relapsing condition. It takes most people with a nicotine addiction several tries to quit for good. So reach out to those who have conquered this addiction. Let them know you are proud of how hard they’re working to better their wellbeing. Thank them for improving their health and the health of the people around them.
If you smoke, vape or use any nicotine delivery product, even though the holidays can be a tough time to quit, they are a great time to get support from your loved ones to help you try to quit. If you have tried in the past, keep trying. You learn something new every time you try to quit. Take advantage of the many resources available in Massachusetts to help you reach your goal.
Tobacco and nicotine users of all kinds can call the MA Smokers Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) to talk with a free quit coach or enroll online through KeepTryingMA.org. The Helpline is open 24 hours each day, seven days a week (excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas). Tobacco and nicotine users can receive a four-week supply of free nicotine replacement help from the patch, gum or lozenge. Online supports include quit planning tools, peer support and motivational text messages.
Smokers who get support and use stop-smoking medicines are nearly three times as likely to quit for good as those who try to quit on their own. Quitting is hard—give thanks to someone in your life for quitting or for trying to quit. Every email, text message, phone call, or encouraging word makes a difference.
Edgar Duran Elmudesi, MSW
Metro Boston Tobacco-Free Community Partnership
Revamping vocation schools
As a community and as a city, we have failed the students of Madison Park Technical Vocational High School. Being that Madison Park is the only vocational school in Boston, we have to pull all of our resources to improve the conditions. This is an issue that threatens the core values that the City of Boston prides itself on, a strong allegiance to no child being left behind.
Vocational education addresses direct and indirect solutions to what we are fighting for, educational opportunities, financial freedom, family stability and even the opioid crisis in Boston. There are over 500 vacant seats, while neighboring vocational schools like in Worchester has 500 students on their waiting list. We have to reflect and ask ourselves why this is? Investing time and money into restructuring the school will benefit Boston’s occupational future. We can be connecting the youth to jobs we have right here in Boston.
According to Jonathan Rodriguez, a member of the Boston Teacher’s Union, regionally the average amount of money allocated to educate a student is $15000 and for a Madison Park student it is merely $12700. The discrepancy in the amount used to educate each student is significantly less. That means less money for books, resources, school renovations and the list goes on. Increasing and reallocate funding for vocational education is crucial for the success of each student.
A heavy refocusing on traditional vocational trades and including more diverse training services will do the school some good. Also, addressing the many concerns present by Dennis Wilson, Co-chair of Friends of Madison Park, like the inadequate equipment, depleting infrastructure and the relationship between the school and the city; can breed innovation and give a solid foundation to the next generation of engineers, nurses, beauticians and other professions in the Madison Park curriculum.
Some may say that investing money and time into Madison Park High School is a waste of time, due to their low attendance record, application process and the reputation of the school. All these areas can be addressed but it will simply be unjust to turn a blind eye. I see this as an opportunity to tell Boston students that we are not neglected our schools and we are not neglecting you.