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.

Brianna Millor

Dorchester resident

RE: ‘City Council holds hearing on pedestrian safety’

Bravo to local heroes such as Councilor Ed Flynn and Boston Transportation Department (BTD) Director of Planning Vineet Gupta. They are making our city streets safer for children, cyclists, and all pedestrians. While officials investigate automated enforcement/ camera systems for speeding and running red lights (which are critically important), a few points bear mentioning:

Small Victories are Urgently Needed – On major thoroughfares such as South Street, Speed Feedback Signs, which flash if the driver is exceeding the speed limit, need to be installed now. On side streets, speed humps are needed immediately. These small victories will raise awareness for the crucial issue of pedestrian safety, while slowing down vehicles.

Increasing BTD’s Budget – Such an enormous amount of money is being spent on development in Boston, surely a fraction of that money could be allocated to BTD, for pedestrian safety efforts.

Health and Physical Activity – In the United States, nearly $117 billion in annual health care costs, and 10% of all premature mortality, are due to people not meeting recommended levels of aerobic physical activity. It is difficult to get people moving, in part, because of the danger of our streets. Making our streets safer for pedestrians will improve longevity and quality of life.

Broader Implications and Grassroots Community Organizing – If we are to tackle the immense, interconnected problems we face as a society (climate change, poverty, etc), we must become politically active locally. Making Boston streets safe for pedestrians is one way to start. The danger of Boston’s streets only enters the public’s consciousness after a tragedy (the death of a child, or cyclist, for example), then it quickly fades. Hence, the importance of organizing for pedestrian safety, and linking such efforts to the city task force / working group proposed by Councilor Flynn.

It was the late, great folksinger and activist Pete Seeger who said, “When one person taps out a beat… [or[ three people discover a harmony, or a crowd joins in on a chorus as though to raise the ceiling a few feet higher, then they also know there is hope for the world.”

Philip Lederer MD

Jamaica Plain resident

Too good to be true

Whether you are a liberal, progressive, or, a moderate Democrat, you would do well to think about Rep. Seth Moulton as a possible presidential candidate. Smart, articulate, faithfully votes for women’s issues, anti-NRA, strong on issues that will help both the under-served and the middle class of our society. He’s a DECORATED COMBAT VET as a MARINE CORPS CAPTAIN who understands the gravity of war and the frivolity – make that danger – of boisterous saber-rattling by members of the opposition, especially the Chicken Hawks like trump and McConnell. Congressman Moulton holds an undergraduate degree in PHYSICS at Harvard and a dual MBA degree in business and public policy, also from Harvard. I’ve no doubt he would be more than willing to show his transcripts as well as his tax returns. As for his decorations as a war veteran, that’s public record.

OHHHH, but that’s right, he’s opposing Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker when the Dems take over in January and we can’t have that. Same ole, same ole nonsense! No wonder the Democrats  lost to the dumbest individual to ever hold office anywhere, any time in the history humankind.

Ion any event, Congressman Moulton is probably overqualified now that the office of POTUS has been reduced to nothing more than the target of ridicule by late night talk show hosts and the scorn of our once faithful allies.

Michel L. Spitzer

Jamaica Plain resident



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