About Tobacco Free Florida
In November 2006, Florida’s voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment, Article X, Section 27, that called for reinstating a tobacco education and use prevention program. This program, Tobacco Free Florida (TFF), is a comprehensive effort to reduce tobacco use in the state. TFF is administered through the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida (BTFF), and funded by money derived from the tobacco settlement agreement with the major tobacco companies. The program today operates with an annual budget of roughly $65 million1 (15 percent of the tobacco trust fund), which is allocated by the legislature to prevent youth from starting to use tobacco and to provide tobacco cessation services, infrastructure and marketing efforts.
TFF shares its message through a comprehensive media campaign aimed at decreasing the number of tobacco users in the state through efforts to prevent non-users from starting to use tobacco and to encourage current users to quit. This message is critical to educate and change social behavior related to tobacco use in Florida, where each year more than 28,000 Floridians die from smoking2 and tobacco-related diseases cost the state an estimated $19.6 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity.3
A mandate of the constitutional amendment is that the program follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2007 Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs. This guide helps states plan and establish evidence-based comprehensive, sustained, and accountable tobacco control programs to prevent and reduce tobacco use. Following these principles, TFF reaches millions of Floridians through hard-hitting advertising, evidence-based policy, environmental and social norm changes, tobacco cessation resources, Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), grassroots initiatives, social media, and public relations efforts. TFF provides information and resources to help tobacco users quit and prevent youth and young adults from using tobacco.
Comprehensive tobacco control programs work. From 2007 to 2010, the smoking rate for adults in Florida decreased by 18.6 percent, falling to 17.1 percent, which is well below the national average of 19.3 percent.4 This decrease has resulted in nearly 500,000 fewer Floridian adult smokers.5 The high school smoking rate has decreased to 14.5 percent, below the national average of 17.2 percent, and the number of committed youth never-smokers increased from 55 percent in 2006 to 62.6 percent in 2010.6 It is estimated that 300 fewer people will die from tobacco-related diseases this year alone, in large part due to the program’s efforts.7
Tobacco Free Florida is saving lives and saving taxpayers millions of dollars. This decrease in smokers resulted in an estimated savings of as much as $4.2 billion in personal health care expenditures.8 Lower healthcare costs mean more funds available for business investments.9 A healthier workforce equals increased productivity in the form of fewer sick days,10 faster recovery time for employees, and fewer illnesses due to tobacco-related disease. In addition, those former smokers are no longer spending money on tobacco products, allowing that money to be spent in other ways for their families. Finally, expenditures by the TFF program created 1,291 jobs in Florida, which produce $37.5 million in total labor income.11
An effective program doesn’t end at preventing youth from starting and helping people quit, but also by protecting Floridians from exposure to secondhand smoke. Since the program was established, more than 290,000 fewer youth in Florida are living in a home where someone else smokes.12
1 Florida Department of Health (FDOH). Bureau of Tobacco Prevention Program. n.d. Web. 8 March 2011.
4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital Signs: Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults Aged ≥ 18 Years―United States, 2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2010;59(35):1135–40
5 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Florida State-Level Report http://www.doh.state.fl.us/disease_ctrl/epi/brfss/2009databook.pdf
6 Florida Department of Health (FDOH). “Tobacco Free Florida is Good for Public Health: ½ Million Fewer Smokers Since 2006.” n.d. Brochure.
7 Florida Department of Health (FDOH). “Tobacco Free Florida is Good for Public Health: ½ Million Fewer Smokers Since 2006.” n.d. Brochure.
8 RTI International. 2010 Independent Evaluation Report. January 2011. Web. 4 March 2011.
9 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sustaining State Programs for Tobacco Control: Data Highlights 2006 [and underlying CDC data and estimates], http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/state_data/data_highlights/2006/index.htm.
10 Lundborg, P, “Does smoking increase sick leave? Evidence using register data on Swedish workers,” Tobacco Control 16:114-118, 2007.
11 Florida Department of Health (FDOH). “Tobacco Free Florida is Good for Public Health: ½ Million Fewer Smokers Since 2006.” n.d. Brochure.
12 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS). “Data from the 2010 County-Level FYTS”
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