New Report: Florida Must Focus on Proven Tobacco Control Policies to Save Lives

Florida received several failing grades for tobacco control policies in 22nd annual “State of Tobacco Control” report; Lung Association outlines steps to reduce burden of tobacco use

Today, the American Lung Association released its 22nd annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, which finds that Florida received three “F” grades and two “C*” grades for efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use. The findings underscore the need for Florida policymakers to focus on proven tobacco control policies, including reinstating local authority of the tobacco control policies to local government.

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.

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Florida and across the country, claiming the lives of 32,300 state residents each year. The tobacco industry will do anything to protect their profits at the expense of Florida lives, so we must push forward in our efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use,” said Ashley Lyerly, senior director of advocacy at the American Lung Association in Florida. “This year, we continue to educate state policymakers on the need to repeal 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.”

Lyerly added: “Florida is a large and diverse state, and the needs of different cities and counties vary widely. We believe that local governments should be empowered to respond to public health issues, like youth tobacco use and the youth e-cigarette epidemic, in ways that work best for the communities they serve."

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 2024 report, Florida received the following grades:

  1. Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F**
  2. Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade C
  3. Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
  4. Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade C*
  5. Ending the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products – Grade F

To address the toll of tobacco use in Florida, the Lung Association calls for the following actions to be taken by local elected officials:

  1. Reinstate local control of the marketing, sale and delivery of tobacco and nicotine products to local government;
  2. Institute strong regulation and licensing of all tobacco retailers, including electronic cigarette retailers, with annual compliance and enforcement; and
  3. Guarantee access to comprehensive quit tobacco coverage with no barriers to care for Medicaid recipients.

Federal Grades Overview

This year’s report focuses on recent federal actions, including President Biden’s failure to finalize rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, as well as FDA’s overdue review of all applications for e-cigarette products, including flavors that are popular among youth. Because of the delay on the federal rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, it is even more important for states to enact laws to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

The 2024 “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***

The Lung Association calls on the White House to urgently finalize rules to end the sales of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in the U.S. to save lives now. Send an email to President Biden at Lung.org/Stop-Menthol to insist these rules be finalized urgently. To learn more about this year’s “State of Tobacco Control” grades and take action, visit Lung.org/sotc.

Get involved and help the mission of the American Lung Association. The Fight For Air Climb Orlando at City National Bank Tower is coming up on February 17. Learn more at ClimbOrlando.org.

*Florida was not able to provide State Employee Health Plan tobacco cessation coverage data. This part of the grade was excluded from the grade calculation.

**State Funding for Tobacco Prevention Programs grades in “State of Tobacco Control” reflect actions taken by elected officials and do not reflect on the hard work of state tobacco control programs or advocates.

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

For more information, contact:

Victoria O'Neill
(312) 273-5890
[email protected]

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