Cancer-Fighting Advocates Mark Great American Smokeout by Calling to Protect the Florida Resources That Have Helped Them Quit

Emphasizing the Importance of Florida’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Programs on the American Cancer Society’s Annual Day to Quit

November 19, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, FL – November 19, 2020 – Cancer patients and survivors are marking the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) 45th annual Great American Smokeout today by calling attention to the state-funded adult and youth tobacco control prevention programs that have helped them quit and protected the health of Floridians for generations.

“As our state’s battle with COVID-19 continues, we must do everything in our power to keep our communities healthy and safe,” noted Paul Hull, ACS CAN Vice President of Regional Advocacy. “Nearly 70% of people who currently smoke cigarettes want to quit, and the Great American Smokeout is about helping people reach that important goal. We know protecting funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs will help people quit and save lives.”

As the advocacy affiliate of ACS, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), supports evidence-based strategies proven to reduce tobacco use including comprehensive smoke-free laws, regular and significant tobacco excise tax increases, and adequately funding evidence-based tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

This effort to combat tobacco addiction comes at a critical moment, as Big Tobacco has now succeeded in hooking a new generation on tobacco products. E-cigarette use has reached significant levels among youth, with approximately one in five high school students (19.6%) currently using e-cigarettes.

“While we’ve made progress in tobacco control, we have to remember that we have a long way to go when it comes to combatting Big Tobacco’s influence and protecting our communities from tobacco’s toll,” added Hull. “Reducing the industry’s grip on Florida is not only crucial to reducing death from tobacco-related disease, but it’s also imperative to reduce health disparities in the state. In Florida alone, Big Tobacco spends more than $608 million marketing its deadly products.”

The tobacco industry’s marketing strategies have led to significant disparities in tobacco use including higher use of tobacco products among people with lower incomes, Blacks, American Indian and LGBTQ+ individuals. The lack of comprehensive tobacco control laws and funding in a locality or state can contribute to disparities in tobacco use. The $72.1 million Florida has budgeted for tobacco prevention amounts to just 37.1% of the $3.3 billion the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends for all states combined.

The use of tobacco products remains the nation’s number one cause of preventable death, killing more than 480,000 Americans, and costing $170 billion in health care costs and $151 billion in lost productivity annually. In Florida, tobacco is responsible for 32,300 adult deaths each year.


The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit

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