New Data Shows Tobacco Prevention Program Helped Produce 500,000 Fewer Smokers and Save $1 Billion in Health Care Costs

Feb 14, 2011, 13:30 ET from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Florida voters passed Constitutional Amendment to create popular program

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Feb. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to new data, Floridians are paying $1 billion less in smoking-caused health care costs and there are more than 500,000 fewer smokers in the state since the Florida Department of Health's Tobacco Free Florida (TFF) program was created by voters in 2006.  


"Over the past four years, Tobacco Free Florida has made steady progress, but its work is far from over. To protect Florida taxpayers and keep kids from smoking, Florida needs to continue investing in this successful program. At a time when everyone is trying to save money, supporting this program is a smart investment in Florida's future," said Don Marx, American Heart Association, Florida Advocacy Chairman.  

TFF was implemented in 2007 after Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a Constitutional Amendment to allocate a percentage of funds from Florida's Tobacco Settlement Agreement to a statewide tobacco prevention and cessation program.  Since the program was implemented, Florida has seen:

  • 18.6 percent decline in adult smoking rates
  • 500,000 fewer Floridians are smoking, saving 149,000 a premature, tobacco-related death
  • 15.5 percent decline in high school smoking rates and middle school smoking rates have declined by a quarter.
  • 111,000 tobacco users in Florida call the state Quitline for assistance with quitting
  • 30 percent increase in the number of smokers who have tried to quit.

Florida is one of the few states that are investing a significant portion of their tobacco settlement revenue in a comprehensive tobacco prevention and cessation program. TFF is a statewide program that focuses on youth prevention and helping smokers quit based on Best Practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some of these practices include combining a public awareness media campaign with community-based interventions and help and encouragement for smokers to quit

"Thanks to the people of Florida, we are one of the few states using a meaningful amount of their tobacco settlement money to fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs.  As a result, fewer Florida kids are starting to smoke, and more Florida smokers are quitting, so our leaders should do everything they can to support the program and continue the progress in reducing tobacco use," said Brenda Olsen, Chief Operating Officer, American Lung Association of the Southeast.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in Florida. According to data from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, each year more than 28,000 Floridians die from smoking, and tobacco-related diseases cost the state an estimated $6.32 billion in healthcare bills, including $1.2 billion in Medicaid payments. Government expenditures related to tobacco amount to a hidden tax of $582 every year on every Florida household.  

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids