Changes experts want to see in Georgia, Florida to break nicotine addiction in children

Georgia and Florida are failing when it comes to preventing people, especially kids, from using tobacco products.

Medical experts said there are changes that can be made to improve the situation.

According to report released overnight by the American Lung Association, both states scored a failing grade for the lack of funding they provide for tobacco prevention and control, access to cessation services, which help people quit smoking, and for lacking a law that restricts flavored-tobacco sales

These failures mean tobacco use is starting earlier and attempts in both Florida and Georgia to get our kids to “butt out” when it comes to tobacco and nicotine use are failing.

More than 25% of high school students in Florida say they use some type of tobacco product.

And in Georgia more than 20% of students in high school are smoking -- this includes cigarettes and vaping.

The American Lung Association said steps can be taken now to break the nicotine addiction.

In Florida that would mean letting local governments determine the rules on tobacco marketing, making sure laws about buying and selling tobacco products are reviewed and enforced and enacting laws that make all workplaces smoke-free, including bars.

Recommendations for Georgia are similar. Right now, the state does not allow local governments to write superseding laws -- the lung association would like to see that changed.

Finally, the group argues more funding is needed for tobacco prevention programs, which could come from a tax increase on tobacco products. Georgia has one of the lowest tax rates in the country at 37 cents a pack.

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