JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An annual report from the American Lung Association shows Florida lags behind the rest of the nation when it comes to reducing and preventing tobacco use.
The report grades the states and the federal government on how they’re doing to prevent and reduce smoking through different policies.
According to the findings, Florida can do a lot more to reduce tobacco use and ultimately save lives.
The Vice President of the American Lung Association says smoking rates have continued to decline to historically low levels nationwide. However, tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S. killing more than 480,000 people every year.
15.5% of people in Florida are smokers- this number emphasizes the work that still needs to be done.
This year’s State of Tobacco Control report finds the state is failing to put policies in place that will reduce the use of tobacco.
Florida received low grades in areas like funding for state prevention programs, level of state tobacco taxes, and coverage and access to services to quit.
The American Lung Association is calling on Governor Rick Scott to act on the climbing costs of tobacco products, remove exemptions, strengthen the state’s smoke-free air law, and to increase funding to the levels recommended by the CDC.
The American Lung Association says these are proven policies that help. They say now that it’s up to state leaders to make changes and put them in place.