9 out of 10 Florida smokers start before the age of 18, and it takes an average of 8 to 10 tries before they finally quit. That’s why the state Department of Health warns young people not to start using tobacco in the first place.
Now health officials have new data showing a 40% drop in teen smoking since 2007.
DOH spokeswoman Shannon Hughes credits the agency's 'Tobacco Free Florida' ad campaign, which is funded by $65 million yearly from the 1997 tobacco settlement. Hughes says smoking has become more taboo, causing fewer people to light up even in private, and the price of cigarettes also discourages would-be smokers.
"For every percentage increase in the cost of a pack of cigarettes, you have a correlated decrease in the prevalence of smoking", Hughes said. "Certainly that is even more so the case with youth."
But DOH still has plenty of work to do. For every person who dies from a smoking-related disease, two new people take up the habit. Currently, one in five Floridians is a smoker.
To get help quitting, call 1-877-U-CAN-NOW or visit TobaccoFreeFlorida.com.