EX-SMOKERS IN HALL OF FAME: Julie Martin (inset) of Plymouth was a pack-a-day smoker for more than 20 years. And she saw no reason to stop.
“I was one of those who said, ‘I’m never gonna quit,’ because I liked it, there was no reason to,” said Martin, who works in Macy’s in the Independence Mall in Kingston. “Then my doctor was going over the health factors and asked me to just give it a try. I said, sure, but didn’t think it would work.”
She went on Chantix, a prescription drug designed to help people kick the habit. It worked.
“The cigarettes started tasting stale, and then started making me sick,” she said. “And I started forgetting them at home. And smokers never forget their cigarettes, they’ll be three miles from home and turn around to go get them even if it meant they’d be late.”
For her efforts, Martin, and three fellow mall employees — David Desrochers of Carver, mall marketing director; Scott Allen of Plymouth, mall maintenance; and Mark Loring of Plymouth, mall security — were inducted into the new Ex-Smokers Hall of Fameat the mall. The event Wednesday coincided with the mall going 100-percent smoke-free that day, with no tobacco use of any kind allowed by anyone anywhere on the property, mall officials said.
The mall’s hall of fame is part of a stop-smoking campaign by the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program, and is designed to encourage ex-smokers to tell their stories to others to help them quit.
There 100 such halls across the state, said Judith Coykendall, program manager for New Bedford-based Seven Hills Behavioral Health Tobacco-Free Community Partnership, which worked with the mall and Jordan Health Systems in Plymouth on the program at Independence Mall.
Another local hall is in the Southcoast Hospital Group system, which includes Tobey Hospital in Wareham. That hall has 45 members in it, she said.
Officials of Syracuse-based Pyramid Management Group, which owns the mall and 14 others throughout Massachusetts and New York, said all its properties are now 100 percent smoke-free. Where it may be most noticeable is at mall entry points, where there had been ashtrays for smokers and a haze of smoke, Martin said.
“I’m not one of those preachy ex-smokers, but you really do notice it, the smell,” she said. “When we have a return of shoes or clothing, I can tell immediately if it’s from a smoker.”
Martin said she smoked for 20-plus years, and assumed her occasional coughing jags were due to allergies, even year round. Now she knows better and suffers allergies only seasonally.
“Now I still cough, but I’m not coughing up a lung,” she said with a laugh.
She quit in May 2009, her husband quitting a few months earlier. Since then, he suffered a perforated lung and was found to have some blisters on the top of one lung that were due to emphysema, she said, and were successfully removed.
“Now they can see the lungs getting pink again,” she said. “You can see the physical evidence of stopping smoking.”
She estimates she and her husband save nearly $7,000 a year by not smoking.
According to Coykendall, 77 percent of adult smokers in Massachusetts want to quit, and 60 percent have tried in the past year. The halls of fame, she said, “call on smokers to keep trying and encourage them not to give up. The ex-smokers tell compelling stories of how quitting has changed their lives to inspire others to do the same.”
For information on quitting, visit www.makesmokinghistory.org.
“The funny thing is, I said I’d try to quit to shut my doctor up,” Martin said. “But there you go, it shut me up instead.”
ACADEMIC NOTES: Bay Farm Montessori Academy’s sixth-grade students in Duxbury recently participated in the Montessori Mode United Nations Conference in New York City, with a team consisting of Naziha Bugazi, Maddie Chaunt, Lexi Ellis, Sophia Kozlowsky, and Hadley Wehner. The team spent the school year getting ready for the event by researching its committees and preparing position papers on topics such as land rights of indigenous people and the protection of street children and their reintegration into society.
BUSINESS BRIEFS: Dr. Sharon Schrotthas joined the dental practice of Dr. Deedee Gurinon Franklin Street, Milton. Schrott has a master’s of medical science degree from Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and has also studied in Geneva, Switzerland. She was in private practice in Germany before relocating to the Boston area.
Roy Edwards of Brockton has opened Nemasket Kayak Center, 407 New State Highway, Raynham, a hard-to-miss spot with a giant red canoe on the roof. The store sells and rents new and used gear, and also runs regular guided tours, Edwards said, including those for history buffs, photographers, and naturalists, on the Taunton, Nemasket, and Palmer rivers. Tours include a “Full Moonlight Magic For Couples in Love” trip and one that highlights Colonial mysteries at archeological remains. For information, visit www.nemasketkayak.com.
Paul Kandarian can be reached at Kandarian@globe.com