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 calls for the following actions to be taken by Florida's elected officials:
- Increase tobacco control funding to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended levels;
- Increase the minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21 years old; and
- Strengthen Florida's smokefree air law by removing exemptions.
With the help of advocates, the Lung Association and its partners were able to defeat CRC Proposal 94 and maintain the funding dedication for Tobacco Free Florida. Proposal 65 was successful in becoming a proposal of the Constitutional Revision Commission and appeared on the November 2018 ballot as Amendment 9. With support from 69 percent of Florida voters, Amendment 9 passed on November 6, 2018. Existing smokefree protections will now expand to include e-cigarettes as part of the Florida Clean Indoor Air law.
During the 2018 Legislative Session, the Lung Association was able to protect funding for Tobacco Free Florida and increase the total budget for the program to $70.4 million for fiscal year 2019. This funding includes a wide variety of services free of charge for people who smoke, including $13.8 million allocated for quitline services and implementation of a referral program, and an additional $7.8 million for in-person cessation counseling. The Lung Association in Florida will continue to advocate that the allocation of these dollars follows the CDC's Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs, are competitively procured and that rigorous performance measures are included in any contracts.
The Lung Association is the lead agency of the Florida Tobacco Cessation Alliance. In partnership with the Florida Department of Health, the Alliance maintains an educational website and implements a business recognition program which provides an award for employers who provide tobacco cessation coverage through their health plans.
During 2019, 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 increase the minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21 years
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