Tobacco Free Florida Week turns five years old this month.
The program, Tobacco Free Florida, is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign that educates people about the dangers of smoking, and provides self-help resources for smokers who are trying to quit.
The Florida Department of Health reports the initiative, which is funded by the state's tobacco settlement fund, has helped more than 72,000 people quit smoking through its "Three Ways to Quit" program:
- Florida Quitline matches smokers with "quit coaches" to create individualized stop-smoking plans. Toll free: 1-877-U-CAN-NOW (1-877-822-6669)
- Online web coaches help smokers create personalized quit-smoking plans. quitnow.net/florida
- Florida Area Health Education Centers offer Quit Smoking Now classes. ahectobacco.com
According to state health officials, Tobacco Free Florida has reduced smoking-related health care costs by more than $4 billion.
Additional stop-smoking efforts include a 2011 law that gives local school boards the authority to ban smoking in their districts. Duval County’s no-smoking policy prohibits the use of all tobacco products on any district-owned property.
In addition, some two dozen colleges and universities have taken steps to make their campuses 100% smoke free. Florida State University (FSU) is expected to join their ranks in January 2014.
This year's fifth annual Tobacco Free Florida Week runs from Saturday, April 6th through Saturday, April 13th.