Major Public Health Organizations Join Together to Stop Florida Proposal 94
By Lauren Walter Fischer, Marion County Tobacco Prevention Specialist
March 7, 2018

Pop quiz: which state in the US has the highest decrease in smokers since 2006? Follow up question, in what year did this same state’s voters overwhelmingly pass comprehensive and best practices tobacco prevention and cessation programs? If you guessed Florida, and 2006, you would be correct.

It’s no surprise that Florida's decrease in tobacco use and exposure go hand and hand with the initiation of the program, but what really drives the point of the effectiveness of these programs is that Florida has been extremely successful in reducing tobacco trends compared to national averages. You would think such successful programs not only would continue to grow but would become model programs for other states to follow as an example.

You would think.

If you haven’t heard already, Proposal 94 is currently under review at the local level by several committees. If the proposal passes in March it moves to the November ballot, and has potential to redirect, or worse, eliminate funds entirely that have been designated towards the tobacco prevention for youth and adult cessation programs that were developed by the Centers for Disease Control.

The elimination of the program is only possible because every twenty years Florida forms a Constitutional Revision Commission that can propose changes to the State Constitution. This year, one commissioner is pushing for funds from Tobacco Free Florida’s extremely successful program to be diverted into cancer research. Additionally, the amount of funds that will be redirected is unspecified.

Organizations all over the country and state have geared up and united to pump the brakes on this irresponsible proposal that has now been rejected by the American Cancer Society, The American Lung Association, The American Heart Association, and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. It’s not just the well-known organizations that are standing up against this proposal, but also local youth, and community-based organizations.    

The QuitDoc Foundation, a leader in tobacco education, prevention, and research, is one of those community-based organizations. Now, they have taken a firm stance against the proposal moving forward by diving head first into education and advocacy on the drawbacks of Proposal 94, byshowing up when it’s of greatest consequence, and by taking the steps to empower individuals at the local level.

Dr. Barry Hummel in Broward County has been an integral part of QuitDoc Foundation’s participation in making noise. "Florida's successful Tobacco Free Florida Program is a solution in search of a problem," said Dr. Hummel. "The program will lead to markedly reduced cases of cancer in Florida, and markedly decreased health care costs. Proposal 94 basically says that it would be better to get cancer and hope we can treat it better in the future than to prevent cancer in the fist place."

 

Other QuitDoc Foundation Community Health Advocates are participating, like in Clay and Martin Counties, by speaking to members of the Constitution Revision Commission, by sharing information with their local Tobacco Free Partnerships, or empowering SWAT Clubs youth to share their personal stories, and send requests to the commissioners directly for maintaining the program.

Here in Marion County, the professors at the College of Central Florida, especially those in the sciences, have been encouraged to speak on their discontent with the proposal’s efforts.

 

If this tobacco prevention program is something you support, then there are certainly ways to get involved. The website StopProp94.com and its Facebook page is dedicated to reaching as many people as possible. They provide a list of commissioners that can be contacted directly through email or even by Twitter. Your local Department of Health can direct you to the Tobacco Prevention Specialist or Tobacco Cessation Specialist in your county.

There is still time to keep this impactful program in our state and continue to reduce cancer instances by means of prevention instead of costly treatments. Because of the Florida Tobacco Prevention Program, it has been proven that there will be youth who will never start using tobacco, and a that there will be tobacco users who can make successful quit attempts, which ultimately results in less cancer cases, fewer deaths from the leading cause in preventable death, and less of a burden on medical care and costs.

If you like the sound of that then step up with the leading organizations in the country, state, and with the QuitDoc Foundation and Stop Prop 94!

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To learn more about QuitDoc Foundation, or Marion County Tobacco Free Partnership visit our website, or Like us on Facebook.
QuitDoc Foundation www.QuitDoc.com
Marion County Tobacco Free Partnership http://www.tfp-marion.org/  https://www.facebook.com/TFPMarionCounty/
Lauren Fischer · Tobacco Prevention Specialist · 352-359-5383 · LFischer@QuitDoc.com