Northwest New Jersey Community Action Partnership
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The Lingering Cloud of Tobacco
Program of the Month

 

In 1964, the Surgeon General of the United States released a landmark report on the link between smoking and negative health effects like lung cancer and heart disease. Since then the portion of Americans who use tobacco has declined considerably in the face of public, health, and financial concerns. In 1965, just a year after the Surgeon General report, 42.4% of Americans over 18 smoked, but 50 years later, this figure had been cut to just over 15%. This decline has not been uniform across the board, however. On average, only 5.5% of those with a college or graduate degree smoke cigarettes, but one in three adults with only a GED are smokers. The smoking rate is also double for those below the poverty level than at or above it (26.1% vs. 13.9%), and over seventeen points higher for rural adults than urban ones. This is important because a distinct health gap exists between many urban and rural Americans, which is only made worse by the lopsided rate of smoking between the two groups. Increased rates of lung cancer, heart disease, and a host of other problems all contributes to increased costs for health insurance, which is already a significant problem for many rural areas. Smoking is estimated to cost the country $200 billion per year in medical costs and lost productivity, which is not even including the social and financial costs that come along with a nicotine addiction at the personal level. If you need help with quitting smoking, our Cancer Education and Early Detection program can provide you with free education on the subject.

For more information, see: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/disparities/low-ses/index.htm, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4843a2.htm, and http://www.lung.org/assets/documents/research/cutting-tobaccos-rural-roots.pdf

 

NORWESCAP has been offering the Individual Development Account (IDA) Program - Dollars To Dreams since 1999. This asset building tool program designed to enable low-income families to save towards a targeted amount usually used for building assets in the form of home ownership, post-secondary education and small business ownership. This most successful program works one to one with individuals with credit, budgeting, goal setting and of course asset accumulation.

One Hundred and ninety program enrolled participants have saved over $338,000.00, and with their savings their asset purchases total over $9,519,000.00. These assets included first time home buyers, small businesses including photography, pet sitting and cleaning services, and higher education included individuals receiving bachelors and master degrees.

NORWESCAP's Family Loan Program was established in 2001 to serve working individuals and families that might need a small loan to maintain their employment. This proven, innovative program provides small loans to low-income working families who cannot get loans elsewhere. It is based on the premise that life's unpredictable challenges – like repeated car breakdowns or child care difficulties – can easily plunge a family living on a marginal income into crisis and unemployment. By providing a combination of small loans and financial literacy counseling, the program provides help when a shortage of money threatens a family's ability to remain employed.

The Family Loan Program has loaned out over $535,000.00 with a current default rate of 4%.


Northwest New Jersey Community Action Program Inc.
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