Less smoking hits revenue from tobacco regulations

TALAHASSEE – Florida will likely see lower revenue than expected from a historic settlement with the tobacco industry because fewer people are smoking or smokers are reducing their use.

State economists released a report on Friday that lowered projected payments over the next decade from the 1997 settlement.

“Overall, expected payments were lowered largely due to changes in the long-term view of cigarette use,” the report said.

The report pointed to a forecast from last month that cigarette sales would decline 2.5% a year over the next decade.

The drop was previously projected between 1.44% and 1.75%.

The report also says tobacco manufacturer payments were $1.7 million lower than forecast for the recently completed 2021-2022 fiscal year.

Economists had forecast $413.8 million in payments, but the year-end total is now estimated at $412.1 million.

Economists, meeting as part of the state earnings estimate conference, also revised expected payouts for future years.

After previously projecting $426.2 million in revenue in the current fiscal year, which began July 1, the state is now expected to receive $403.9 million from the settlement.

Similarly, the projection has increased from $442.5 million to $417.9 million for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.

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