Effective March 19, Member Share Grocery Program hours at our three UP Centers located in Orlando, Indian River County and St. Lucie County will transition to be Monday - Saturday, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., with our Orlando and St. Lucie County locations also operating Sundays from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. To streamline our operations to focus on the increased need at our main Indian River UP Center, our satellite grocery program located in South Vero Beach will close at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 21.

As we continue to focus on serving the community during this increased time of need, our programs remain available to low-income families.

For more details on our response to this ever-changing situation, including the enhanced precautionary measures we are taking to protect every person who steps foot onto each of our campuses, please click here.

In stressful situations, many of our neighbors turn to United Against Poverty for information, direction and reassurance. Now more than ever, we are deeply grateful for your support.

Smoking and Poverty

Tobacco has a long history as a farming crop starting 8,000 years ago and is still one of the most important cash crops in North and South America. In the 17th century, tobacco products grew heavily through the mass marketing of cigarettes, adding in over 7,350 chemical compounds that risk cancer, cardiovascular disease, and heart disease. Smoking increased during both the World Wars as cigarettes were freely given to the troops as a “morale booster.”

After learning about the negative health effects, since 1964 cigarette smoking among U.S. adults has reduced by more than half. However, people living in poverty smoke cigarettes for nearly twice as many years as people with a family income at 300% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Even after new regulations require tobacco companies to provide commercials and billboards stating the possible negative health effects of using cigarettes, prices are kept low and cigarettes are seen as a more affordable recreational activity for low-income individuals. Within the past 60 years, tobacco marketing efforts have included handing out free cigarettes in government housing projects and issuing coupons for cigarettes with food stamps. There are more tobacco retailers located in the low-income areas which target these vulnerable communities through point of sale promotions, discounts, and product displays behind the check-out counters.

Nearly 32% of adults without a high school diploma and 50% of adults who earned a General Education Diploma (GED) use tobacco every day compared to just 10% of adults with an undergraduate degree and 6% with a graduate degree. Traditionally, those with lower educational achievements experience poverty at a significantly higher rate than those with advanced degrees. Although people with low-income have access to health care, they are more likely to lag behind those in the middle class in their access to effective smoking cessation treatments. They also may face challenges in accessing care for co-occurring mental health problems (i.e. depression) which make quitting smoking more difficult.

Smoking has become an issue of socioeconomic status affecting those living in poverty at a significantly higher level than those more financially stable. At United Against Poverty, we are exploring education opportunities for smoking cessation programs and ways to encourage our members to put down their cigarettes for a healthier life both physically and financially.