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 smoke free 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.