Florida Lags Behind Nation in Policy Efforts to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use

American Lung Association report reveals best and worst states for tobacco control policies, outlines steps to reduce burden of tobacco in Florida
Florida is listed as one of the states with the worst policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use, according to the American Lung Association’s 21st annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, released today. The state earned mostly failing grades on this year’s report.

The “State of Tobacco Control” report evaluates state and federal policies on actions taken to eliminate tobacco use and recommends proven-effective tobacco control laws and policies to save lives. This is critical, as tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in America and takes the lives of 32,300 Florida residents each year.

“Florida lags behind when it comes to tobacco control policies, and as a result, we have higher than average adult smoking rates at 14.7% and 25.2% of high school students use a tobacco product,” said Ashley Lyerly, Senior Director of Advocacy at the American Lung Association in Florida. “This gives us an important opportunity to improve the health of our state through proven policies, such as reinstating local authority of the tobacco control policies to local government.”

Florida’s Grades
The “State of Tobacco Control” report grades states and the District of Columbia in five areas that have been proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use and save lives. In the 2023 report, Florida received the following grades:
  1. Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F
  2. Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade B
  3. Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
  4. Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade D
  5. Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade F

This year’s report noted the need for Florida policymakers to focus on repealing state laws that prevent local governments from passing stronger tobacco control policies. The preemption of local authority is a favorite tactic of the tobacco industry to deny local governments the ability to pass meaningful public policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use.
"Florida is a large and diverse state, where the needs of different cities and counties vary widely. Because of this, we must give local governments the ability to develop the best laws to protect their citizens,” said Ashley Lyerly. “We believe that local governments should be allowed to respond to public health issues, like youth tobacco use and the youth e-cigarette epidemic, in ways that work for their communities.”
 
Federal Grades Overview
The report also grades the federal government on their efforts to eliminate tobacco use. This year, there were new steps taken by the government to prevent and reduce tobacco use, including proposed rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, Congress passing a law requiring the FDA to regulate tobacco products made with synthetic nicotine, and increased federal enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act. As a result of these steps forward, the federal government’s grade for “Federal Regulation of Tobacco Products” improved from a “D” grade last year, to a “C” grade in the 2023 report.

The 2023 “State of Tobacco Control” report grades the federal government in five areas:
  • Federal Government Regulation of Tobacco Products – Grade C
  • Federal Coverage of Quit Smoking Treatments – Grade D
  • Level of Federal Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
  • Federal Mass Media Campaigns to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use – Grade A
  • Federal Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Incomplete

FDA is overdue in publishing the final Tobacco 21 regulations as required by statute, which is why it earns an “incomplete.” 

To learn more about this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” grades and take action, visit Lung.org/sotc.

Media Resources:
For more information, contact:

Jill Smith
704-818-4138
[email protected]

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