TALLAHASSEE — The fifth annual Tobacco Free Florida Week is being celebrated this week.
The event runs from April 6-13, and this year’s theme is “High Five: Celebrating Five Years of Tobacco Free Florida Week,” it will highlight progress made in protecting Floridians from tobacco’s deadly toll.
The Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida educates youth about the harmful effects of tobacco use, aids current tobacco users in their efforts to quit, and brings to light the impact tobacco has on Florida’s health and economy.
“"Each year, Tobacco Free Florida week turns up the heat on tobacco by educating Floridians about the dangers to health from smoking and chewing tobacco,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “Florida has seen remarkable success in reducing smoking rates in recent years, one of the program’s many accomplishments that we will celebrate during this five-year anniversary.”
Since the inception of the Tobacco Free Florida program, the following milestones have been achieved:
Protecting the People:
• There are more than 500,000 fewer adult smokers in Florida.
• Tobacco Free Florida has helped 72,000i people quit through its 3 Ways to Quit services.
• There are now 70,000ii fewer youth smokers.
• There are more than 220,000iii fewer youth in Florida exposed to secondhand smoke, which contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals, hundreds of which are toxic and 69 that can cause cancer.
Benefitting the State:
• The reduction in smokers has helped save more than $4.2 billion in personal health care costs.
• Twenty colleges and universities in Florida have taken the bold step to enact 100 percent smoke-free campus policies.
• In June 2011, Gov. Rick Scott signed a law amending the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act to give school boards the authority to designate all district property as tobacco free. Currently, all but two (65 total) school districts have implemented tobacco-related policies.
• More than 40 counties and more than 100 cities in the state have passed resolutions urging local vendors to cease the sale and marketing of all candy-flavored tobacco products, which target youth.