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Tobacco Report Released

On the medical front Tuesday, the American Lung Association said that the state of Florida has failed miserably in the funding of tobacco prevention.

The Lung Association fears that due to little funding, the smoking among youth will be on the rise. This year funding for Florida's tobacco control program is almost non-existent, so now the battle is on to secure money for next year.

Adrian Abner is a leader of Students Working Against Tobacco, or SWAT, and he often speaks to his peers on the dangers of smoking.

"I stress to them the effect that smoking has on their lives and not only their lives but the lives of people around them. I let them know that their not only effecting their lives their effecting my heart, their effecting my lungs, my livelihood," says Adrian Abner.

According to the American Lung Association, Florida receives failing grades when it comes to preventing smoking. The main reason: funding is down from 70 million five years ago to a mere 1 million this year, leaving a heavier burden on local school systems to educate about tobacco dangers.

"Even though funding has been cut we will continue to offer the best we can [to] the programs," says Bill Montford.

According to the Florida Department of Health, the past tobacco prevention program has worked, reducing smoking rates among kids by 35 to 50 percent. Advocates say they will fight this year to get the funding back in Florida's budget.

"I feel as though the youth of Florida has been let down. I don't feel betrayed but I feel let down because we've delivered our end of the bargain," says Abner.

The Lung Association believes it can get some help from the tobacco settlement fund, which should bring in $400 million later this year. What happened to all the funding in the first place? There is not a solid reason. The Lung Association blames big tobacco and the lawmakers say it was a tight budget year.


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