Funds for Florida's Truth campaign cut into half
Florida's nationally acclaimed campaign to cut teen smoking suffered a major blow when a third of its staff members were reassigned and the budget was slashed in half.
The fallout comes a month after the state Legislature cut funding for the anti-tobacco program from $70-million to just $32-million. The Legislature's cut left the Florida Department of Health with no choice but to trim the program this year, said Frank Penela, spokesman for state Health Secretary Bob Brooks. Overall, Brooks cut 11 out of 31 positions, but the employees will be offered other jobs in the Health Department, Penela said. Brooks also eliminated the job of marketing director. That job had been held by Peter Mitchell, who was forced out when Republican Gov. Jeb Bush took over.