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State Touts Decreases in Smoking

November 21st, 2016 by flanews

Ten years ago, Florida voters took a stand against tobacco at the polls. As Matt Galka tells us, a decade of Tobacco Free Florida is paying off.

21 percent of adults in the state were smoking in in 2006. Nearly 11 percent of children 11-17 were also puffing on cigarettes. That’s when Floridians voted for a constitutional amendment creating tobacco free Florida.

The amendment allowed money from big tobacco settlements to be used to create Tobacco Free Florida education and prevention programs, and it’s working.

“The youth smoking rate has gone down an amazing 71 percent since that time, we’ve also seen the adult smoking rate go down to 15.8 percent, which is the lowest it’s ever been,” said Shannon Hughes with the state’s Department of Health.

With the decrease in cigarette use, health costs are also going down.

“We have seen approximately 17.7 billion dollars in healthcare savings costs,” she said.

But even though an estimated 450,000 Floridians have quit since the program started, the state’s Department of Health says the battle is far from over.

“We’ve seen in an alarming increase in the use of these alternative products such as e-cigarettes and all the flavors that are offered. They’re not approved by the FDA,” said Hughes.

DOH says there are still 7400 people picking up smoking each year, a number they’d like to see go down to zero.

If you’re trying to kick the habit, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com for help on how to quit smoking.

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