FMES - Florida Educational Medical Services

State of Tobacco Control

Issue 79 - 3/20/2013

Florida has witnessed remarkable success in reducing smoking rates in recent years. In 2012, only 3.3 percent of middle school students and 10.1 percent of high school students smoked a cigarette at least once during the past 30 days. Since 1998, smoking prevalence has decreased by a remarkable 82.2 percent among middle school students and by 63.1 percent among high school students. Since 2010 alone, the decline has been 32.7 percent among middle school students and 22.9 percent among high school students. The American Lung Association in Florida continues to be at the forefront of this issue and a leader in fighting for policies that address tobacco use by children, smoking in public places and helping those addicted to tobacco quit for good. 

During the 2012 Legislative Session, the Lung Association, along with our partners, continued its work maintaining the integrity of a state constitutional amendment requiring the Florida Legislature to allocate at least 15 percent of the state's annual tobacco settlement payments to a tobacco prevention program. The Lung Association successfully safeguarded these funds from allocation to special projects not intended by the state law and ensured certain key programs were maintained.

The state budget included $64,289,944 for the statewide Tobacco Education and Use Prevention Program for Fiscal Year 2012-2013, as well as language that permitted the Florida Department of Health to offer nicotine replacements and other treatments approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as part of tobacco dependency interventions. As reported by the Florida Department of Health, annually there are approximately 300 fewer smoking-related deaths among Floridians 35 and older as a result of the program.

The Lung Association is the lead agency of the Florida Tobacco Cessation Alliance, whose goal is to educate employers on the health and economic benefits of providing tobacco cessation coverage for their workforce. In partnership with the Florida Department of Health, the Alliance maintains an educational website and works statewide, as well as with the 67 county tobacco-free partnerships, on this important health initiative. 

Florida's Clean Indoor Air Act preempts local governments from enacting laws stronger than the state. In 2011, it was amended to authorize district school boards to adopt rules prohibiting any person from smoking tobacco on, or in, any district-owned or district-leased facility or property between the hours of 6 a.m. and midnight. As with school districts, there is growing interest by local governments to enact stronger smokefree laws. Many are frustrated that the state law does not allow them to protect children from secondhand smoke in parks and other outdoor venues that children frequent.

During 2013, the American Lung Association in Florida will continue to ensure the state has a highly effective and well-funded tobacco prevention and control program, vigilantly protect the Clean Indoor Air Act and convince legislators and public officials of the value of providing adequate cessation resources for Medicaid patients and state employees.
FLORIDA STATE FACTS
•  Economic Cost Due to Smoking:   $12,879,031,000
•  Adult Smoking Rate:   19.2%
•  High School Smoking Rate:   10.1%
•  Middle School Smoking Rate:   3.3%
•  Smoking Attributable Deaths:   28,607
•  Smoking Attributable Lung Cancer Deaths:   9,553
•  Smoking Attributable Respiratory Disease Deaths:   7,393

Adult smoking rate is taken from CDC's 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school and middle school smoking rates are taken from the 2012 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey.

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