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Amendment Four Sponsors Waged Successful Battle

November 8th, 2006 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida teens and adults will likely see a resumption of anti smoking ads after voters approved amendment four yesterday. Edgy ads were credited with dramatically lowering teen smoking until lawmakers slashed funding. Voters though, had the last word, deciding using tobacco settlement money to prevent smoking was a good idea.

Hear it here: vasilinda-package.mp3

17-year-old Derawynn Worthington says he just started smoking

”Cuz there don’t be nothin’ else to do.”

It’s illegal for tobacco companies to target under age teens, but most, like those in line outside a convenience store, see a billion dollars worth of advertising every year anyway. High School Junior Danielle Spisso says she doesn’t pay attention.

“I don’t smoke or anything I don’t really know anybody that does smoke. So I’m just kind of used to seeing ads and stuff like that around. I just ignore them now.”

Teen smoking dropped dramatically when Florida began spending millions on hip anti smoking ads

But the ads ended when lawmakers gutted the budget.

Now that voters have said yes to Amendment Four, the state will be required to spend about 57 million next year on prevention and that amount will change each year, based on how much money the state gets from the tobacco settlement.

Says Brenda Olsen of the Florida lung Association “ We anticipate that the legislature will require that the money be spent on programs we know that are very effective in preventing youth from smoking.”

The money for prevention won’t start flowing until July of next year, so it will be at least fall before any ads start reappearing and other programs are up and running.
Amendment Four passed with just over 60 percent of the vote. There was no organized opposition.

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