Rick Smith, Chief of Police
1 Union St.
Wakefield, MA 01880
For Immediate Release
Friday, March 1, 2019
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Wakefield Police Chief Rick Smith Attends Youth Vaping Conference
WAKEFIELD — Chief Rick Smith attended a youth vaping conference Friday at Essex Tech that brought together law enforcement members, public health officials and educators from around the state.
As the Chairman of Middlesex Partnerships for Youth, Inc., a nonprofit that organized the conference, Chief Smith had the honor of introducing the conference’s keynote speaker, Attorney General Maura Healey.
“Since taking office, Healey has tackled issues touching the lives of residents across Massachusetts, including the heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic, escalating health care costs, workers’ rights and student loan costs,” Cheif Smith said. “She has focused on strengthening consumer protections and on improving our criminal justice system.”
Chief Smith also thanked Healey for taking the time to attend the conference, which was held in the media center at Essex Tech, and brought dozens of educators, police, and health officials together to address teen vaping.
During her presentation, Healey emphasized the insidious nature of Juul and e-cigarette companies, which have marketed candy flavored cartridges and cartoon themed covers to children and teens. She recounted a handful of interactions she’s had with educators around the state who have witnessed the rise in youth vaping addiction.
“People think because something is legal that it’s safe — we know that not to be the case,” Healey said.
Healey also stressed the importance of educating students about the health risks of vaping, as well as providing social emotional, substance use disorder, and behavioral health resources and support to students who may already be addicted to vaping.
“If we’re going to put an end to the concerning popularity of vaping among teens, educators, police, towns, cities, legislators, scientists and health officials need to come together, share what insights we have, and approach this problem as a group,” Chief Smith said. “Vaping can lead to nicotine addiction. Worse, some of these products offer marijuana cartridges, and we’ve known for some time the harmful effects of marijuana on developing minds. We need to teach teens about the dangers of vaping.”
Additional speakers at the conference included: State Sen. Jason Lewis, North Carolina State University Research Scientist Cynthia Grondin, Westwood-Mansfield Pediatric Association Consultant Lester Hartman, Boston Children’s Hospital Government Relations Specialist Jamie Gaynes, Wakefield Unified Prevention Coalition Director Catherine Dhingra, Melrose Board of Health Regional Tobacco Prevention Program Coordinator Maureen Buzby, and Winchester Police Department School Resource Officer Sgt. Dan Perenick.
About Middlesex Partnerships for Youth, Inc.:
The nonprofit organization works to provide solution-oriented, community-based, multi-disciplinary approaches to reduce and eliminate risky behaviors for youth.
MPY is governed by a Board of Directors made up of school superintendents, police and fire chiefs, and other community leaders.