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Fewer Floridians are smoking, which is impacting tobacco settlement revenues

Close-up of a young man smoking a cigarette as smoke swirls around
The report points to a forecast that cigarette sales would decline by 2.5 percent annually over the next decade.

Florida likely will see lower-than-expected revenues from a landmark settlement with the tobacco industry because fewer people are smoking, or smokers are cutting back.

State economists Friday released a report that lowered projected payments over the next decade from the 1997 settlement. “Overall, expected payments have been lowered largely because of the changes in the long-term view of cigarette usage,” the report said.

The report pointed to a forecast last month that cigarette sales would decline by 2.5% annually over the next decade. The decline had earlier been projected between 1.44% and 1.75%.

The report also said tobacco-manufacturer payments were $1.7 million less than anticipated for the recently completed 2021-2022 fiscal year.

Economists had projected $413.8 million in payments, but the year-end total is now estimated at $412.1 million. The economists, meeting at the state Revenue Estimating Conference, also revised anticipated payments for the coming years.

After earlier projecting $426.2 million in revenue during the current fiscal year, which began July 1, the state is now forecast to receive $403.9 million through the settlement. Similarly, the projection went from $442.5 million to $417.9 million for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.