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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Wouldn’t It Be Great To Be Tobacco Free?

By Florida Department of Health, Office of Communications

May 30, 2013

Imagine living in a world without disease. Sound too utopian? Though it may, there are plenty of measures we can take to prevent disease and promote good health. The Tobacco Free Florida (TFF) program works daily to remind Floridians of the power of prevention and the tremendous impact a conscious effort to live healthy can have on one's overall wellbeing. Eating right, exercising and kicking the smoking habit are just a few preventative measures that provide individuals with the chance for a healthier life.

World No World Tobacco Day, sponsored by the World Health Organization, is recognized around the globe on May 31 promoting prevention by encouraging tobacco cessation. Tobacco use kills one in 10 adults worldwide, and Tobacco Free Florida, the WHO and partners worldwide are embracing this opportunity to highlight the risks associated with tobacco use and motivate users to quit once and for all.

World No Tobacco Day's 2013 theme focuses on banning tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Across the state, Tobacco Free Florida, youth activists and community supporters will work to shed light on the tobacco industry's evolving marketing practices and efforts to target youth and young adults.

World No Tobacco Day, positioned as an international day of action, aims to confront and eliminate the global tobacco epidemic through a comprehensive advertising ban. Based on research suggesting such bans lead to reductions in tobacco use, this observance advocates the prohibition of all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

While WHO works to encourage countries to implement these bans, Tobacco Free Florida and their partners across the state work to remedy the issue at the local level. They zero in on tobacco retailers that target youth, and advocate for legislation that restricts the tobacco industry's marketing practices. Much of these efforts have spurred positive and tangible results.

Governor Rick Scott signed a 2011 amendment to the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act, allowing 65 school districts to designate all district property tobacco-free. Over 40 Florida counties and 100 Florida cities have passed resolutions discouraging vendors from selling candy-flavored tobacco products, widely regarded as a gateway to further tobacco use. Counties across the state push housing properties and other institutions to implement smoke-free policies, advice taken to heart by the 20 Florida universities and colleges that have gone completely smoke-free.

“Though these are great strides in the right direction, World No Tobacco Day emphasizes the importance of protecting younger generations from tobacco propaganda,” said Tobacco Free Florida Bureau Chief Shannon Hughes. “Tobacco companies continue developing marketing materials and products that appeal to youth and trigger unhealthy habits and a lifetime of otherwise preventable health complications. We don't want a state riddled by addiction, disease and premature death, and embrace World No Tobacco Day as a tool for building a tobacco-free Florida.”

Nearly nine out of 10 smokers in the United States start by age 18 and studies reveal that teens are much more easily influenced by promotional pieces than adults. Tobacco Free Florida's efforts have resulted in 70,000 fewer youth smokers since 2007, and the program is committed to seeing further progress. Join the cause by spreading awareness of these marketing tactics, reminding your loved ones about the harms of tobacco use, and celebrating World No Tobacco Day by encouraging someone you know to quit today.

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