Category Archives: Community

Big Tobacco, Is it Still a Problem?

Tobacco products have been illegal to advertise for years, now. We do not hear about it as often and it becomes the question of “is it still a problem?”. The answer, bluntly, is yes. Smoking still affects many people, including youth between the ages of 12 and 18. Though smoking cigarettes has gone down in quantity of people smoking them, nicotine use is still a dangerous fad, being offered in more varieties than it once was.

In New Jersey, the legal age to buy tobacco is 21. But, 8.1% of high schoolers have reported smoking and over 12% have reported using e-cigarettes, which still contain a high amount of nicotine. It is a good measure that the legal age has been raised, but it is clear that this has not deterred underage persons from smoking.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, as per the CDC. “More than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the United States,” stated the CDC. Aside from death, cigarette smoking leads to other major diseases like cancer, chronic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and minor ailments like wrinkles, yellowed teeth, Raynaud’s.

Cigarettes also effect the environment, which is something we do not always think about it. Cigarettes are a leading cause of deforestation because of growing the tobacco. Aside from just growing the tobacco, having enough paper to roll the cigarettes or to sell separately as rolling paper further influences deforestation.

A more obvious effect on the environment is air pollution. Not only is air pollution happening as people continue to smoke cigarettes, but the production process creates mass amounts of air pollutants, including greenhouse gasses.

So, though Big Tobacco has moved to the backburner in a lot of citizen’s minds, it is still an extremely pertinent issue. Big tobacco is ruining lives by continuing to cause health hazards, the issue that has been pressed for a while now. But, it is important to see the impacts that big tobacco is placing on the environment, too. As e-cigarettes and vapes rise up in popularity, we cannot forget or stop pushing for the end of cigarette smoking and big tobacco.

Stop the Pain


The Community Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Morris, in collaboration with Life Center Stage, created an awareness campaign Share Your Story #Stop The Pain, focused on bringing light — through stories, photography and videos –on how the opioid epidemic affects real people! This initiative, which started with three 30-second Opioid Awareness spots featuring people sharing how the opioid crisis has personally affected them, also impacted those telling their stories. After filming the 30 second spot, Loren O’Donnell expressed, “I unleashed repressed feelings, I needed that. Thank you. I am forever grateful” Learning how sharing had made a difference, CCSHM invited the community to share their stories and experiences with opioids, addiction, stigma- as well as their stories of hope and recovery- on our website  The website will showcase the stories, videos and photographs from the Stop The Pain Opioid Awareness Spots, #StopThePain social media feed of publicly posted stories along with up to date resources for those struggling with this opioid crisis. We invite you to visit the link below and submit your own story.

Binge Drinking in New Jersey

Tobacco use has gone down in New Jersey in the past years, but binge drinking for age 12 and up, has steadily increased. Though it’s not a significant increase, it is still on the rise. Check out this graph that shows the dangers of drug use in New Jersey on dependence.

Treatment Admissions in Morris County

Did you know that in New Jersey, in 2016, there were 91  admissions to treatment for alcohol related reasons for people under 18? And in Morris County, there were 6 alcohol treatment admissions for those under 18. Though 6 may not seem like a high number, that means that not only were people under age drinking, but drinking to the point of needing detox or alcohol use treatment. Over the past year, the alcohol admissions have declined, but drug admissions have gone up. In 2015, there were 54 drug related admissions in Morris County, which in one year, went up to 88 drug related admissions.

As the perception of risk continues to be lowered, the rate of use continues to go up.