News

Dramatic Success that is Saving Lives


Dear Friends,

Last year I wrote and passed legislation designed to reduce smoking in Florida and generate a billion dollars for health care programs and $50 million annually for cancer research, treatment and prevention. My legislation added a surcharge to every pack of cigarettes because every study shows that making cigarettes more expensive is not only the best way to encourage smokers to quit, but it's also best way to stop kids from ever taking up smoking in the first place.

Just this week, the Sun Sentinel reported that my legislation is making a real impact - with cigarette sales plummeting nearly 50% in some counties.

This is fantastic news - as it will not only save lives, but reduce the cost of care for millions of people as they avoid smoking-related illnesses.

If elected to Congress, I will use the same commonsense approach to legislation that allowed me to pass meaningful reforms in the State Senate. I will work hard each day to deliver results on the issues that matter to you most.

Please read the article below from Wednesday's Sun Sentinel. 

With warm regards,

- Ted


The South Florida Sun Sentinel

TALLAHASSEE - Cigarette sales have fallen sharply across Florida since a $1-a-pack tax increase took effect July 1, plunging nearly 50 percent in some counties.

Statewide, cigarette sales that regularly topped 100 million packs per month dropped to 73 million packs the month the tax became law. Since then, sales have inched back to around 78 million packs but remain well below prior levels.

To supporters, the sagging sales are evidence that the tax is meeting its public health objective: getting smokers to quit. Critics, however, say many people are simply buying their cigarettes elsewhere or switching to items that aren't subject to the higher tax, like small cigars.

The state charge on cigarettes is now $1.34, compared with the 34 cent tax that had been in place since 1990.

"It's working exactly the way it was designed to work. People are quitting," said Rep. Jim Waldman, D- Coconut Creek, a cigarette tax champion. "If I could, I'd raise it another dollar."

The state tax isn't the only factor influencing sales. A 62 cent federal cigarette tax increase also went into effect last April. And Florida is a national leader in job loss and home foreclosures, which
is surely pinching some of the state's 2.7 million smokers.

The most dramatic decline in cigarette sales was in Miami-Dade County. In June, the month before the higher tax took effect, retailers and convenience stores sold 8.9 million packs; a month later, 4.4 million.

Sales since rose to 6 million packs in September, the latest month for which county-by-county information is available.

Cigarettes sales in Broward and Palm Beach counties both saw a similar initial decline — evidence of sticker shock among smokers — and then recovered a bit. Broward's monthly clip of about 6.5 million packs now is below 6 million packs a month. Palm Beach County sales dropped from around 5.5 million packs to 4 million.

Despite the sharp falloff in cigarette sales, the new tax is bringing in as much revenue as expected. Anticipating a drop in smoking rates, state economists predicted the extra $1 charge would generate $958 million this year. Through October, the tax had brought in $325
million — on track to meet or slightly exceed the target.

While the cigarette tax was used to help plug Florida's budget shortfalls, Gov. Charlie Crist and legislators cited public health as the primary motivator.

Dramatically lower cigarette sales surely chip away at the state's smoking rate, which is 20 percent for adults. But how much is not clear.

There were 7,900 calls to the state's tobacco quit line in the three months after the new tax took effect, a 25 percent increase over the same period in 2008. But the state also beefed up its anti-smoking TV, radio and billboard advertising campaign, which helps account for the
higher call volume.

Josh Hafenbrack can be reached at jhafenbrack@sun-sentinel.com or 850-224-6214.

Protecting Women's Access to Breast Cancer Screenings

Dear friends,

The sad fact is that each and every one of us has a friend or family member whose life has been touched by cancer. Some of us have lost loved ones, others have triumphed over impossible odds, and many courageous friends continue to fiercely battle this vicious disease.

I am writing to you today because I am deeply disturbed by the newly issued guidelines from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, which tell women to put off mammograms and self-breast exams until the age of 50.

These guidelines were developed without the input of a single radiologist or oncologist, and they ignore the established recommendations of the American Cancer Society and the American Medical Association that routine breast cancer screenings begin at age 40.

The last thing in the world we should be doing is discouraging women from doing self-exams or talking to their doctors about breast cancer. Instead, we should increase outreach and education for women about the importance of mammograms, self-exams, and cancer prevention.

What bothered me most about the Task Force's decision was the cold way they calculated that too few women are saved by mammograms and early self examinations. If we save the life of one mother or daughter by detecting breast cancer early - then that is enough justification for me to reject the findings of this panel.

Cancer is an issue of deep personal importance to me. That is why I took action in the Florida State Senate and passed legislation to reduce smoking and fund $50 million worth of cancer research in Florida each year.  Just this week, the Sun Sentinel reported that my bill - which put a surcharge on every pack of cigarettes - has resulted in cigarette sales dropping by 50% in some parts of Florida.

This recent news about the decrease in smoking has reinforced my belief that we have the power to make a real difference on the issues that matter most - and even save lives.

If elected to Congress, you can count on me to be a leading voice on cancer prevention, treatment, and research.

Kind regards,

Ted

Ted Pays Tribute to America's Veterans

Today, Senator Ted Deutch released the following statement in honor of Veterans Day:

"Today marks a day of tribute to our veterans who bravely fought in wars past and for our servicemen and women who defend our nation at this very moment. They are heroes who left their families to travel thousands and thousands of miles around the world to risk everything in defense of our freedom and our values. 

"Florida is home to 1.8 million veterans - second only to California in the size of its veterans population - and it is of deep personal importance to me that each one of them get the quality care and services that they deserve. My father - the most patriotic man I've ever known - volunteered as a teenager to serve in World War II. He went on to fight in the Battle of the Bulge and earned a Purple Heart. In every veteran I meet, I see my father's face and remember his love of country.  

"It is a personal commitment of mine to fight to ensure our veterans and their families get the support they need. For there is no more telling an indicator of the character of a nation than the quality of care our men and women in uniform receive upon returning home from war.  Our servicemen and women embody patriotism and courage, and we must honor and respect them long after their service has ended.  On Veterans Day - and every day - all of us must work to ensure that these men and women never become forgotten heroes."

Reps. Wexler, Wasserman Schultz, Klein, and Hastings Endorse Ted Deutch for Congress Four Endorsements Provide Huge Momentum to Deutch Campaign


(Boca Raton, FL) - Today, Reps. Robert Wexler, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Alcee Hastings and Ron Klein endorsed Ted Deutch for election to Congress in the 19th Congressional District. Deutch is running in the early 2010 special election to succeed Wexler, who is leaving Congress to become President of the Center for Middle East Peace.

The dramatic endorsement of four Democratic South Florida Members of Congress who represent Palm Beach County and Broward County adds huge momentum to the candidacy of Ted Deutch. The Deutch Campaign had earlier announced the endorsement of 16 elected officials from Palm Beach County, including Commissioner Burt Aaronson and State Senator Dave Aronberg.

The Wexler endorsement is likely to be critically important in this campaign as Wexler remains extraordinarily popular among the constituents of the 19th Congressional District. Wexler, who also endorsed Deutch in his candidacy for State Senate, was re-elected seven times by huge margins in the 19th Congressional District.

Statements from Reps. Wexler, Wasserman Schultz, Hastings and Klein.

Statement by Congressman Robert Wexler:

“I have known and worked with Ted Deutch for many years, and I know with absolute certainty that he will work hard everyday to improve the lives of families, seniors, and all citizens of South Florida. Ted will be a leader in Congress on critical national security issues including supporting the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel. Ted understands the threat posed to the United States and Israel by a nuclear Iran, and he has been a national leader on the issue through the passage of his landmark legislation mandating that the retirement funds of Florida workers can not be used to support Iran’s illicit quest for nuclear weapons.”

Statement by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz:

“I enthusiastically endorse Senator Ted Deutch for Congress. Ted is a remarkable legislator who has a proven record of success solving the critical issues facing Florida and our nation as whole. On the issue of health care alone, Ted has achieved dramatic success. As a minority member of the Florida Senate, Ted passed landmark health care legislation that will dramatically reduce teen smoking and fund nearly $1 billion in essential Florida health care programs. This is exactly the type of leadership we need in Congress”

Statement by Congressman Alcee Hastings:

“I am pleased to throw my support behind Ted Deutch.  He has demonstrated that he is a proven leader and will be an excellent representative in Congress.  In the State Senate, Ted passed critical legislation to improve health care for seniors, the rights of children, public education, and services for Holocaust victims.  I have no doubt that he will make the people of Florida’s 19th district proud.  I look forward to working alongside him in Congress.”

Statement from Congressman Ron Klein:

"Senator Ted Deutch is an outstanding leader in our community, and I am proud to endorse him in his bid to serve as the next Congressman from Florida's 19th District. I have known Ted and his family for many years, and am honored to call him a close friend. Ted has distinguished himself as a leader on the issues that matter most to South Floridians, including health care, education and job creation. I know that his experience will serve his constituents well in Washington, D.C."

Statement from Senator Ted Deutch

“I am truly overwhelmed by this outpouring of support from these four fantastic Members of Congress. I want to especially thank Congressman Robert Wexler who has done such an amazing job representing the people of the 19th Congressional District over the last thirteen years. Everyday in Congress, he fights for the seniors and families of Palm Beach and Broward Counties. His support and commitment to Israel is one that I will passionately continue. His commitment to his people is a model for how I want to serve in Congress.

“We only got started on this campaign a week and a half ago, and to be able to have the support of Robert, Debbie, Alcee and Ron gives our campaign tremendous momentum. This is more than just a vote of support by other elected officials, this is an endorsement of the philosophy of government that we all share, and one that I will take with me to Washington.

“You can be sure that in the days ahead I will be working as hard as I can to win the most important endorsement – that of the voters of Palm Beach and Broward Counties.”

About Ted Deutch

Senator Ted Deutch is a talented legislator who has earned a national reputation for successful efforts to ensure that the retirement funds of Florida's workers do not support Iran's illicit quest for nuclear weapons or genocide in Darfur. Ted has also passed meaningful reforms protecting seniors and children, and he was recently honored by the American Cancer Society for passing legislation that will reduce smoking and fund nearly $1 billion in critical health care programs in Florida.

Senator Jeremy Ring Endorses Ted Deutch for Congress


(Boca Raton, FL) - State Senator Jeremy Ring, earlier considered a leading contender for the congressional seat being vacated by Congressman Robert Wexler, has now endorsed Ted Deutch for Congress. Jeremy Ring is an influential and popular figure in Broward County and his endorsement adds further momentum to Ted Deutch’s campaign for Congress.

"There is no doubt that Ted Deutch will be an excellent Member of Congress for the people of Broward and Palm Beach Counties” said State Senator Jeremy Ring. “Ted’s record of success in Tallahassee on health care, education, and national security is a testament to his work ethic and ability to deliver results.”

"Jeremy's support for my campaign is an enormous boost” said Ted Deutch. “Jeremy’s endorsement is going to be a big help for me in Broward county.  He has a very close bond with his constituents in his district, and his strong business sense is truly valued in Tallahassee.  I'm glad to have him on my side, and I am thrilled I don’t have to run against him as he would
have been an impressive candidate.”

About Ted Deutch

Senator Ted Deutch is a talented legislator who has earned a national reputation for successful efforts to ensure that the retirement funds of Florida's workers do not support Iran's illicit quest for nuclear weapons or genocide in Darfur. Ted has also passed meaningful reforms protecting seniors and children, and he was recently honored by the American Cancer Society for passing legislation that will reduce smoking and fund nearly $1 billion in critical health care programs in Florida.