The state of Florida and its partners recognize May 31 as World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), an international day of action in response to the worldwide tobacco epidemic
Across the state, the Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign, youth activists, and community supporters will shed light on the tobacco industry’s continued efforts to target youth and young adults.
In its 26th year of observance, the World Health Organization selected "Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship as the 2013 theme of World No Tobacco Day. This observance targets the tobacco industry’s evolving marketing practices, which respond to successful tobacco control initiatives and reduced rates of cigarette use by revamping their strategies and product selection.
Though certain forms of tobacco marketing have been restricted over the years, tobacco companies increasingly focus their efforts and dollars on promoting cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products in the retail environment, spending $7.3 billion in the United States in 2010 on strategies that facilitated retail sales.
Tobacco Free Florida and its partners address tobacco advertising and promotion, working at the local level and focusing on retail environments that target youth.
The following are efforts to prevent youth tobacco use:
In June 2011 Gov. Rick Scott signed a law amending the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act giving school boards the authority to designate all district property as tobacco free. Currently, 65 total school districts have implemented tobacco related policies.
More than 40 counties and 100 cities in the state have passed resolutions urging local vendors to cease the sale and marketing of all candy flavored tobacco products, which are widely considered to be starter products.
County advocates are working to encourage and assist multi-unit housing properties to go smoke free, not only protecting Floridians from toxic secondhand smoke, but de-normalizing tobacco use.
Additionally, 20 Florida colleges and universities have taken the bold step to enact 100 percent smoke free campus policies.
“Numerous tobacco industry documents show that the tobacco companies perceive youth as an important target,”
said Tobacco Free Florida Bureau Chief Shannon Hughes.
“Years after those documents were made public, the tobacco companies continue to develop products and marketing campaigns aimed at young people. While their tactics may change, the consequences remain the same: addiction, disease, and premature death."
In the U.S., nearly nine out of 10 smokers start by age 18.
Two out of 3 youth visit a convenience store at least once a week.
Studies show that teens are much more likely than adults to be influenced by promotional pieces in these stores
Despite these numbers, substantial progress has been made in Florida and the state is committed to continued efforts.
Since Tobacco Free Florida launched in 2007, there are 70,000 fewer youth who smoke cigarettes.
Florida's high school smoking rate, currently at 10.1 percent, is below the national average.