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East Orange — Letters to the Editor

Getting Tobacco Out of Our Communities

Jihadah S. Azziem-Sharif

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 • 10:49am

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Creative Spirits of New Jersey is asking for support to help get tobacco out of our communities. I have always been committed to solving issues of relevance in our communities. Presently I am focusing on raising the level of consciousness about the dangers of smoking; especially for our children. There is a need to help convince our children not to smoking in spite of peer and media pressure.  It is estimated that over 168,000 children under the age of 18 who live in New Jersey will die prematurely from protracted smoking habits.

Our recent program is, "Breaking the Chain" instead of burning up our bodies, let's build up our communities. Tobacco is not only hazardous to our health but the money spent can be used to improve the quality of life in our communities. Presently Creative Spirits is targeting “at risk” youth who can benefit from our "Patch up the Cracks" program that we designed over 20 years ago to structure and monitor the activities of youths who have committed infractions of the law. There are innumerable youths within the county's urban communities that lack the support services to divert them from the justice system and subsequently long-term incarceration.

The "Patch up the Cracks" program will pick up were the justice system leaves off. We will place the offenders in a constructive environment that will provide the youths with an edge to compete and the odds that they can achieve and succeed. Working with the courts and probation we will keep an adequate account of their activities and report to the courts on a daily basis.

The money that is invested in cigarettes can help Creative Spirits provide homes for our "Patch" programs for youths who are in need of a stable environment. We can give our youths scholarship to continue their education or more social programs to kept them from being idle. There is so much that we can do with the money that is destroying our lives.

Creative Spirits also has produced a video "Out of the Mouth of Babes" the video is educational and entertaining. The video has footage with a nurse who talks about the patients she takes care that suffer from smoking related illnesses and a representative from a funeral home who talks about the condition of the body of the decease who died from smoking related illnesses. It even has a cameo of basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal. We are hoping that everyone will support our efforts to stop smoking, and support purchasing our video.

We are especially interested in sport stars to promote our program about tobacco and encourage their fans to purchase the videos. Our youths are very much influenced by sport stars and entertainers. But many sport stars are good examples of healthy living and our youths are easily influence if they are encouraged by those who they respect and especially if they practice good health habits.

The film is available to anyone who wants to view it and use the film to raise funds for their programs and at the same time get the message about the perils of tobacco into more households can contact Jihadah Sharif at The Creative Spirits of the State of New Jersey a nonprofit 501c3 organization at (973) 766-1514 or email us creativespiritsnj@comcast.net

We are also interested in our Police Officers and Fire Fighters to join our campaign to get tobacco out of the community. Not just to encourage our children, but for the officers to practice good health habits themselves.  These public servants should be in the best of health possible; lives depend on them to be healthy and strong.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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