New Study finds Florida Teens less likely to smoke!

New Study finds Florida Teens less likely to smoke!

Revised from December 12, 2014 Article from Sun-Sentinel by Dan Sweeney

Florida’s youth smoking rate is down to 7.5 percent

Florida’s youth are less likely to smoke than kids in every other state but Utah, according to a new report.

Florida had a 7.5 percent smoking rate among high school students, according to the study by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association, among other groups.

Broken Promises Youth Smoking Report
“What Florida has done, with media campaigns, the social media outreach, community partnerships, has really changed things there for the better,” said John Schachter, a spokesperson for Tobacco Free Kids. “We’re aspiring to have the first tobacco-free generation, and Florida’s showing how it can be done.”

He credited Florida with having solid and consistent tobacco prevention funding since 2006. That’s when a constitutional amendment required the state to spend 15 percent of a national tobacco lawsuit settlement on smoking cessation programs.

The youth tobacco rate has essentially been cut in half since then – the rate in 2005 was 15.7 percent.

In 2015, Florida will spend more than $66 million on these programs, more than any other state.
“It is a high dollar figure, but it’s yielding results,” Schachter said.

The Center for Disease Control has issued dollar figures, based on state population, for what each state would need to spend to have a truly effective smoking cessation program. For Florida, its $194 million.

That places Florida 15th in terms of the percentage of the CDC’s recommendation that is funded, which contrasts sharply with the rock-bottom youth smoking rate.

“Smoking cessation programs aren’t the whole picture,” Schachter said. “You also need sufficient tax in the state to drive kids to not smoke, as well as some no-smoking policies that states need to be successful.”

Soon after passing the amendment mandating a smoking-cessation program, Florida also raised taxes on cigarettes by $1 and passed laws banning smoking in many public spaces.

To that end, the new report calls on other populous states to be a little more like Florida.

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