Aug. 25 1997
Washington, DC - Today’s settlement between the State of Florida and the tobacco industry ensures that Florida will receive payment for the significant expenses it has incurred in connection with tobacco-caused disease. The settlement is important because it marks only the second time in history that the tobacco industry has paid for the damages inflicted by its addictive, deadly products. The State of Mississippi settled last month. We applaud Governor Lawton Chiles and Attorney General Bob Butterworth for holding the industry accountable and for serving the citizens of Florida. We are grateful to both for their long term commitment to protecting children from tobacco. We are particularly pleased that Florida was successful in securing stiff restrictions on billboard advertising. While Florida’s settlement is a step forward, only a national, federally-mandated policy can go beyond what states may be able to achieve individually, and drive down youth smoking rates and save lives throughout the entire United States. While still a work in progress, elements of the current tobacco proposal are critical to reducing youth access to tobacco, providing resources for cessation programs, curbing tobacco marketing, and ensuring funding for a sustained public education and counter advertising campaign, among other notable goals.