Thursday, October 26, 2006
Highly effective Teen anti-tobacco campaign gasping for funds
A few years ago, Florida's SWAT clubs (Students Working Against Tobacco) launched what many consider the most effective youth anti-smoking campaign in the nation. SWAT's edgy TV ads, many of them focused against the tobacco industry, were credited with bringing down the rate of teen smoking in Florida. Then state legislators raided the tobacco settlement account that funded SWAT, cut its budget from $70 million to practically nothing, and prohibited the clubs from running ads. From 1995 to 2003, the tobacco industry had given about $1.4 million to officials running for public office, says Common Cause of Florida. Only 10 of Florida's 160 state legislators were not recipients. Officials deny there was a connection. Now tobacco use among young teens is on the rise in the state. Read the full story from the Sarasota FL Herald-Tribune.