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FLORIDA’S STORES ARE THE FRONT LINES OF TOBACCO CONTROL

July 16, 2019

OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla An estimated 32,300 Floridians die from smoking-related illnesses each year[1] and tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the nation and in our state.[2] Tobacco companies increased their advertising dollars at the point of sale by more than 42 percent in just one year.[3] When it comes to recruiting new youth to use tobacco, studies show this tactic has been effective – the likelihood of starting can more than double for youth who visit a store with point-of-sale tobacco ads at least twice a week.[4]

Tobacco Free Florida in Okaloosa County is taking actions to counteract the millions of dollars being spent marketing cigarettes and other tobacco products, often at retail locations directly next to schools. Tobacco Free Florida grantees in Okaloosa County have been interviewing retailers about point-of-sale practices regarding tobacco placement and advertising to collect a baseline for a community assessment. Educating youth about marketing practices that tobacco companies use to influence them has been a priority as well.

Tobacco executives view youth as “replacement smokers,”[5] the next generation of customers replacing those lost by the leading cause of preventable death in our state and our nation.[6]  To attract new youth smokers the tobacco industry continues to evolve the market with new products, such as electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). 

Many e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is addictive, and have a variety of harmful chemicals. They are also marketed by promoting flavors, including many that are especially appealing to youth. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently sent warning letters to 17 manufacturers, distributors and retailers that were selling nicotine-containing e-liquids with labeling or advertising resembling kid-friendly food products, such as juice boxes, candy or cookies that were identified as being false or misleading[7]. Since then, all 17 companies have stopped selling those products. According to the 2016 Surgeon General’s Report on e-cigarette use among youth and young adults, more than 85 percent of e-cigarette users ages 12-17 used flavored e-cigarettes, and flavors were the leading reason for youth use.[8]

About Tobacco Free Florida

The Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. Since the program began in 2007, more than 212,000 Floridians have successfully quit using one of Tobacco Free Florida's free tools and services. There are now approximately 451,000 fewer adult smokers in Florida than there was 10 years ago, and the state has saved $17.7 billion in health care costs. To learn more about Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way services, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or follow the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFlorida or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tobaccofreefla.

[1]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs—2014. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.

[2] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 [accessed 2018 June 25].

[3] “Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report for 2016,” FTC.gov. Federal Trade Commission, 2018. https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/reports/federal-trade-commission-cigarette-report-2016-federal-trade-commission-smokeless-tobacco-report/ftc_cigarette_report_for_2016_0.pdf [accessed 2018 August 8.]

[4] Henriksen, L, et al., “A longitudinal study of exposure to retail cigarette advertising and smoking initiation,” Pediatrics126:232-238, 2010. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/126/2/232.full.pdf?download=true.

[5] Tobacco Company Quotes on Marketing to Kids. https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/factsheets/0114.pdf. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. [Accessed 2018 August 15.]

[6] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2016.

[7] Felberbaum, Michael. “Press Announcements - Companies Cease Sales of e-Liquids with Labeling or Advertising That Resembled Kid-Friendly Foods Following FDA, FTC Warnings.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, 23 Aug. 2018, www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm618169.htm.

[8]U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2016.