Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in Florida. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association in Florida calls for the following actions to be taken by our elected officials:
- Substantially increase the costs of tobacco products including electronic smoking devices;
- Strengthen Florida's smokefree air law by removing exemptions; and
- Increase tobacco control funding to CDC-recommended levels.
During the 2017 Legislative Session, the American Lung Association in Florida was able to protect funding for Tobacco Free Florida and increase the total budget for the program to $68,631,754. The Lung Association in Florida will continue to ensure that the allocation of these dollars follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs, are competitively procured and that rigorous performance measures are included in any contracts managed by the Florida Department of Health.
Florida's program continues to be committed to provide people who smoke a wide variety of services free of charge. In addition to the $14.288 million allocated for quitline services, the program dedicates an additional $7.7 million for in-person cessation counseling. During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, Tobacco Free Florida provided cessation services to over 100,000 tobacco users, the largest number in its history. The Florida Quitline also had a record year when it provided cessation services to over 79,700 of the 100,000 tobacco users. Florida is the first state to do a statewide implementation of fully integrated tobacco cessation E-Referral through the patient's electronic medical record in 67 county health departments. Once the intervention is completed, the participant's outcome is sent back electronically by Florida's cessation vendors to the patient's medical record.
The American Lung Association in Florida is the lead agency of the Florida Tobacco Cessation Alliance, whose goal is to educate employers on the health and economic benefits of providing tobacco cessation coverage for their workforce. In partnership with the Florida Department of Health, the Alliance maintains an educational website and works statewide, as well as with the 67 county tobacco-free partnerships, on this important health initiative. The Alliance launched a business recognition program which provides an award for employers who provide tobacco cessation coverage through their health plans.
During 2018, the American Lung Association in Florida will continue to ensure the state has a highly effective and well-funded tobacco prevention and control program, vigilantly work to improve the Clean Indoor Air Act and work to significantly increase the cost of tobacco products.