TIP #9

Take six slow, deep breaths when you have the urge to smoke or use smokeless tobacco. Inhale strength and calmness, and exhale toxic poisons and feelings.

Smoke Free St. Joe (SFSJ), a coalition of dozens of local, state and national partners, are working together to create healthier and safer communities by providing tobacco education to reduce tobacco use, promoting tobacco cessation to help smokers quit, and supporting stronger smokefree policies that prevent unnecessary exposure to secondhand smoke throughout our community . The coalition, established in 2009 (previously known as Tobacco Free St. Joseph County Coalition), has worked with health organizations, civic groups, businesses and schools countywide to reduce the burden of tobacco use on our community and increase everyone's quality of life.

In 2011, it's estimated that nearly 24 percent of St. Joseph County residents still smoke. That's higher than Indiana's average of 21 percent and the national average of 18 percent. Approximately 425 deaths of St. Joseph County residents were attributed to smoking in 2011. An additional 52 nonsmoker deaths were attributable to secondhand smoke exposure.  In addition to death, it's estimated that about 16 percent of our county's pregnant woman smoke while pregnant-- and nearly 600 babies were affected by health complications due to their smoke exposure.

The numbers don't lie-- tobacco is the enemy in a fight St. Joseph County needs to win!

Our coalition's strength is made up of great partners in it to win the fight against tobacco. They include:

The Alcohol & Addictions Resource Center
American Cancer Society
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Heart Association
American Lung Association of Indiana
Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Fit For the Kingdom Ministries
Gethsemane Church of God, Inc.
Goodwill Industries of Michiana, Inc.
Indiana Black Expo
Indiana Latino Institute
Indiana State Department of Health - Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Commission
Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance
Memorial Hospital of South Bend
Neighborhood Resource Corporation
Select Health Network
South Bend Community School Corporation
St. Joseph County Health Department
St. Joseph County Minority Health Coalition
St. Joseph County Regional Medical Center

Even cracking the window will not prevent those riding with you from being exposed to the dangerous hazards of secondhand smoke.