Failure to defend a successful state tobacco control program: policy lessons from Florida

Am J Public Health. 2000 May;90(5):762-7. doi: 10.2105/ajph.90.5.762.


Objectives: This investigation sought to define policy and political factors related to the undermining of Florida's successful Tobacco Pilot Program in 1999.

Methods: Data were gathered from interviews with public health lobbyists, tobacco control advocates, and state officials; news reports; and public documents.

Results: As a result of a recent legal settlement with Florida, the tobacco industry agreed to fund a youth anti-smoking pilot program. The program combined community-based interventions and advertisements. In less than 1 year, the teen smoking prevalence rate dropped from 23.3% to 20.9%. The program also enjoyed high public visibility and strong public support. Nevertheless, in 1999, the state legislature cut the program's funding from $70.5 million to $38.7 million, and the Bush administration dismantled the program's administrative structure. Voluntary health agencies failed to publicly hold specific legislators and the governor responsible for the cuts.

Conclusions: The legislature and administration succeeded in dismantling this highly visible and successful tobacco control program because pro-health forces limited their activities to behind-the-scenes lobbying and were unwilling to confront the politicians who made these decisions in a public forum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advertising / economics*
  • Community Health Services / economics*
  • Decision Making, Organizational
  • Financial Support*
  • Florida / epidemiology
  • Health Education / economics*
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects
  • Politics*
  • Prevalence
  • Program Evaluation
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Industry / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Truth Disclosure