TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - As Tobacco Free Florida celebrates 10 years of fighting to lower smoking rates, they have announced that the state's adult smoking rates have hit a record low.
Ten years ago, Floridians voted to fund a tobacco education and prevention program known as Tobacco Free Florida.
“With voter support, this program was launched a decade ago and Tobacco Free Florida has had a tremendous impact on improving the health of Floridians,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary Dr. Celeste Philip.
Since the program's launch in 2006, the adult smoking rate lowered to 15.8 percent in 2015, the lowest it's ever been in the state. Ultimately, the program has saved the state billions, saving $3.2 billion in health care costs last year.
Shannon Hughes, with Tobacco Free Florida said, "Instead of the old way, which was one person at a time trying to change things, and we do still offer those individualized services, we are now approaching it from a system's perspective to say 'how do we create an environment that is not conducive to tobacco use?'."
Over the past 10 years, the program has helped more than 159,000 Floridians quit smoking. While it's made remarkable progress, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death and 7,400 Floridians continue to become daily smokers each year.
For more information to quit tobacco or help a loved one quit, visit Tobacco Free Florida's new Quit Your Way program here.