published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Cheap cigarette-cigars enticing adolescents
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
SEBRING -- Dr. Barry Hummel warns filtered "cigar cigarettes" -- most of them fruit flavored -- are a rapidly increasing problem among local teenagers. In fact, he said, they are being used to introduce young people to smoking.
Hummel represented the Tobacco Prevention Network of Florida at the Highlands County legislative delegation's public hearing Friday morning,
Sold in two or 10 packs, Hummel said some shop owners keep the two-pack cigar cigarettes near the entrance and turn a blind eye to shoplifting. The cigarette-appearing cigars are inhaled by the user. An addicted smoker becomes a steady customer, Hummel said.
"Cigar-cigarette use is on the rise," he added. "For example, there has been a 26 percent increase in cigar-cigarette use among Highlands County youth since 2008, compared to a 12.5 percent drop in traditional cigarette use among those same students.
In 2012, 18 percent of Highlands County students reported using the cigar-cigarettes; just 15.9 percent of those same students reported smoking cigarettes. This represents the first time youth cigarette use has exceeded traditional cigarette use."
Hummel told the delegation that closing a loop hole in the tobacco excise tax will help curb use and add to the state revenues. "Florida is the only state with no user-fees on cigars," he said, adding neither do pipe nor loose tobacco.
"We now have cheap, flavored cigarettes available, ranging in price from $0.99 to $1.59 a pack, compared to $5.79 for traditional cigarettes." Hummel said.
Hummel also asked the delegation to remove the pre-emption clause from the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act.
The clause, Hummel said, makes "it impossible for communities to completely protect their children from the effects of secondhand smoke. Florida is one of only 13 states that continues to supersede the will of the local communities in this way."
Removing the clause would make it possible to prohibit smoking on public playing fields.
Hummel told the delegation that through tobacco prevention programs the network has prevented an estimated 80,000 secondary students from starting tobacco. He asked the legislature to continue to fund those programs.
Profit & Loss (by: Blindman - 1/23/2013)
Can anyone provide a link to The Tobacco Prevention Network of Florida's financial report? It would be interesting to see what's coming in and exactly what's going out. The State has programs in place that appear to be working, so why do we really need TPNF?
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