Mar. 2 2000
Washington, DC - The success of the Florida Tobacco Pilot Program is the strongest evidence yet that aggressive, comprehensive tobacco prevention programs can make a dramatic difference in the number of our children who smoke. In two years, the Florida program has reduced youth smoking by 54 percent among middle school students and 24 percent among high school students. Tens of thousands of Florida kids are being protected from the diseases and premature death caused by tobacco. Florida's results, along with those from Massachusetts, California and Oregon, confirm that comprehensive state programs including aggressive counter-advertising do work to reduce youth tobacco use. These results leave no excuse for state legislatures now debating this issue not to invest tobacco settlement dollars in comprehensive tobacco prevention programs. The American Legacy Foundation and the states need to move forward with effective programs that learn from Florida's model, and the tobacco companies, if they are serious about youth tobacco prevention, need to support these efforts.