The Tobacco Free Florida prevention program was born ten years ago when voters “overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment” guaranteeing an annual funding of 15 percent of Tobacco Settlement payments to Florida for “tobacco prevention and cessation programs” using the Centers of Disease Control best practices. This measure has resulted in decreased smoking rates for both youth and adults, “leading to billions of dollars and countless lives saved.” While there has been great success with this program, “smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Florida and the United States.”
The impact of Tobacco Free Florida can be seen in the numbers:
- The adult smoking rate now stands at 15.8 percent, down from 21 percent in 2006.
- Youth smoking has dropped 71 percent – 10.6 percent in 2006 to 3 percent in 2016.
- High school smoking rate has almost been cut in half from 2010- now at 5.2 percent.
- Between 2007 – 2015, annual smoking-related health care costs decreased 15 percent and saved $17.7 billion.
- More than 159,000 Floridians quit tobacco.
- Approximately 451,000 fewer adult smokers in Florida than 10 years ago
Great strides have been made reducing tobacco use in Florida, and work will continue to “decrease the percentage of youth 11-17 years old who are using tobacco products other than cigarettes,” as well as to “eliminate Floridians’ exposure to the deadly effects of secondhand smoke.” Tobacco use in our state can be decreased as we come together to “increase the number of community partnerships and encourage communities like ours to get involved with events, activities and education on the different ways available to quit” and make our state a Tobacco Free Florida. Happy Birthday Tobacco Free Florida…here’s to many more years!
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