Tobacco Free Florida Week - 2/27/2009 - 3/7/2009..

March 3, 2009 - Tobacco Free Florida Week: No ifs, ands or butts this week.

Gov. Charlie Crist proclaimed this week as Tobacco Free Florida Week, the state's first comprehensive campaign to promote tobacco-free living. It started Friday (February 27, 2009) and continues through Saturday (March 7, 2009).

Note the week is "Tobacco Free" - not cigarette free or smoking free. All tobacco products with no exceptions are highly addictive and dangerous to health; as the World Health Organization tells us "Tobacco is Deadly in Any Form or Disguise." Protect your children - your future leaders.

The Florida Legislature begins its 60-day session today, Tuesday, March 3, 2009 in a desperate dash for cash to close what could add up to $5 billion-or-bigger budget hole next year. Republican Rep. Juan Zapata, R- Miami, has filed a bill to raise Florida's low 34-cent per pack tax on smokes by 65 cents and raise taxes on other tobacco products. The revenue generated would help finance research, health care and services to the disabled. Economists used to think a $1-per-pack of cigarettes increase would net Florida a cool $1 billion. That figure dropped to $750 million earlier this year because of declining demand for the product.

State lawmakers last raised Florida's cigarette tax in 1990 by about 10 cents. It is one of four states that has not increased its tax since. Florida is now 46th in the country for the amount of its cigarette tax, followed only by South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri and Mississippi.

More: Tobacco Free Florida, the statewide youth prevention and adult cessation campaign, launched in February 2008. The Campaign has reached millions of Floridians through its advertising, online social media, grassroots initiatives, educational outreach and public relations efforts. Funded by Florida's tobacco settlement fund, the campaign engages culturally and economically diverse audiences with its high impact messaging.

Related news briefs: Florida's $2.3 billion deficit - increase tax on cigarettes???; States Need Quick Influx of Revenue – Think Tobacco Tax..; Times are Tough Save Money Quit Smoking...

References: Governor Crist Proclaims Tobacco Free Florida Week Beginning February 27 College and Pro Teams Encourage Floridians to Take Tobacco Free PledgePR Newswire, 2/18/2009; State legislators to consider cigarette tax increase by Aaron Deslatte, TALLAHASSEE BUREAU - Orlando Sentinel, 3/3/2009.