Healthy Choices - Healthy Lifestyle
In November 2006, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment, Article X, Section 27, that called for establishing a comprehensive tobacco education and use prevention program using a percentage of the state’s tobacco settlement fund. As a result, Tobacco Free Florida (TFF) launched in 2007.
TFF is administered through the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida and funded by money derived from the state’s tobacco settlement agreement with the major tobacco companies in 1997. These tobacco lawsuits were intended to punish cigarette makers for decades of fraud and racketeering and to help states pay for the Medicaid and other public health expenses to cover sick smokers. Florida was among three other states—Texas, Mississippi and Minnesota—that settled with the tobacco industry before the Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 between the other 46 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The state constitutional amendment requires that “the money appropriated pursuant to this section shall be used to fund a comprehensive statewide tobacco education and prevention program consistent with the recommendations for effective program components in the 1999 Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs of the CDC, as such Best Practices may be amended by the CDC. This program shall include, at a minimum, the following components, and may include additional components that are also contained within the CDC Best Practices, as periodically amended, and that are effective at accomplishing the purpose of this section, and that do not undermine the effectiveness of these required minimum components:
The CDC Best Practices were last updated in 2014, which describes an integrated programmatic structure for implementing interventions proven to be effective and provides the recommended level of state investment to reach these goals and to reduce tobacco use in each state. These individual components are most effective when they work together to produce the synergistic effects of a comprehensive statewide tobacco control program. On the basis of evidence of effectiveness documented in the scientific literature and the experiences of state and local programs, the most effective population-based approaches have been defined within the following overarching components.
QuitDoc is proud to be a part of this work in Florida. We receive funding through the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida to work in two important components contained in the CDC Best Practices in six Florida Counties (DeSoto, Dixie, Gilchrist, Highlands, Indian River, and Okeechobee). We provide evidence-based curricula and programs to educate youth about tobacco and to discourage their use of it, and we create and maintain local community-based partnerships that discourage the use of tobacco and work to educate people, especially youth, about the health hazards of tobacco, with an emphasis on programs that involve youth and emphasize the prevention and cessation of tobacco use.
These tobacco control interventions are designed to counter the aggressive and often misleading information spread by tobacco companies, which have been found in federal court to have deliberately deceived the public about the health effects of tobacco. In this context, it is particularly important that comprehensive statewide tobacco control programs coordinate community-level interventions that counter tobacco industry marketing and focus on the following key components: