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More anti-tobacco funds urged

By LUCY MORGAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 31, 2000


Saying Florida's effort to stop teenage smoking has shown dramatic results, anti-tobacco advocates called on legislators to increase funding for the fight.

A poll taken last weekend indicates that smoking among Florida middle school students has declined by 54 percent and among high school students by 24 percent since the state's Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids started work in 1998.

Former Sen. Curt Kiser, lobbyist for a coalition formed by the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association, urged Floridians to call their legislators and support a funding increase for 2000-2001.

The House and Senate budgets include $44-million to $45-million for the tobacco fight, compared with $60-million the group had for the current year.

"It's time to talk to legislative leaders and let them know we don't want this project to fail," Kiser said.

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