About Us

About Tobacco Free Florida

In November 2006, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment, Article X, Section 27, that called for establishing a comprehensive tobacco education and use prevention program using a percentage of the state’s tobacco settlement fund. As a result, Tobacco Free Florida (TFF) launched in 2007. TFF is administered through the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida and funded by money derived from the state’s tobacco settlement agreement with the major tobacco companies in 1997. These tobacco lawsuits were intended to punish cigarette makers for decades of fraud and racketeering and to help states pay for the Medicaid and other public health expenses to cover sick smokers. Florida was among three other states – Texas, Mississippi and Minnesota – that settled with the tobacco industry before the Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 between the other 46 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease.1 Changing behaviors related to tobacco is critical in Florida, where each year about 32,300 adults die from smoking.2 If current smoking rates continue, 270,000 Florida children alive today who are younger than 18 years of age will die prematurely as a result of smoking.3 Smoking costs the state $8.6 billion in medical costs annually.4

Guiding Principles

A mandate of the constitutional amendment is that the TFF program follows the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs. This guide helps states plan and establish evidence-based comprehensive, sustained, and accountable tobacco control programs to prevent and reduce tobacco use. Following these principles, TFF reaches millions of Floridians through hard-hitting media campaigns, public relations, social media, evidence-based tobacco cessation services, grassroots initiatives, county-level grants that advance tobacco-free policies, a youth-led movement called Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), school-based interventions, and surveillance and evaluation to ensure effectiveness.

Results

Comprehensive tobacco control programs like TFF work. The program has resulted in a significant decrease in smoking rates among both adults and teens in the state, leading to billions of dollars and countless lives saved.

TFF’s beneficial impact is proven in numbers:

Since TFF’s hard-hitting advertising launched, quit attempts across the state have increased and the campaign has been linked to reducing relapses among those who quit. Exposure to the program’s message has also caused positive shifts in smokers’ attitudes towards quitting.4

Since 2007, 159,000 Floridians have successfully quit tobacco using one of TFF’s free tools and services. To learn more about TFF’s Quit Your Way services, click here.

ABOUT TOBACCO FREE FLORIDA’S BUREAU CHIEF

Kellie O’Dare, Tobacco Free Florida Bureau Chief

Dr. Kellie O’Dare is Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida and Cancer Programs at the Florida Department of Health. Previously, she served for seven years at the Florida Legislature in the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability where she was a Policy Analyst from 2005-2008, later becoming a Senior Policy Analyst from 2011-2013. She worked as special assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Florida Department of Children and Families in 2001.

Dr. O’Dare’s academic credentials are prolific starting in 1998 when she received her Bachelor of Science in Education at Florida State University and later receiving two Masters Degrees in 2002: one in Public Administration at the Ruben O’D. Askew School of Public Administration at FSU, the other in Social Work. In 2011 she earned her Ph.D. in Social Policy and Administration from FSU and wrote her dissertation on the environmental and contextual determinants of health outcomes. She has taught college courses at University of West Florida, Florida State University, Thomas University, and in the Global Leadership Doctoral Program at Indiana Technical Institute.


1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs—2014. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.

3 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.

4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs—2014. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.

5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016.

6 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS), Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, 2016.

7 Mann, Nathan M, Nonnemaker, James M., Thompson, Jesse. “Smoking-Attributable Health Care Costs in Florida and Potential Health Care Cost Savings Associated with Reductions in Adult Smoking Prevalence.” 2016.

8 Nonnemaker, James M., et al. “The effect of exposure to media campaign messages on adult cessation.” Addictive behaviors 49 (2015): 13-19.