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Open Access Publications from the University of California

2008 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey, County Data Book


The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) initiated a tobacco prevention program in 1989 when it received federal funding to implement tobacco prevention and control activities. By 1997, the State of Florida successfully settled with the tobacco industry for $11.3 billion to recoup Medicaid costs incurred by smokers. As part of the settlement agreement, the FDOH launched the Tobacco Pilot Program targeting tobacco use among underage youth.

The Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS), which was originally part of the Tobacco Pilot Program, is a statewide, school-based anonymous survey that has been conducted annually since 1998. The FYTS collects information regarding the prevalence of tobacco use, attitudes, and related behaviors among middle and high school students throughout Florida and tracks those behaviors over time. The FYTS has been administered to a state-level sample annually since 1998, with county-level surveys being conducted in 2000, 2002, 2006, and 2008.

In 2000, the FDOH worked with other state agencies to coordinate school-based surveys to reduce the burden on schools, teachers, and students. The FYTS became part of a multi-agency joint survey effort that also includes the Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey (FYSAS), the Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (YPANS), and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS).

The 2008 FYTS was based on a two-stage cluster probability sample design. First, a random sample of public middle schools and high schools was selected for participation in the survey. Then, within each selected school, a random sample of classrooms was selected, and all students in that class were invited to participate in the survey. To be able to generalize the data to all of Florida, the survey data were statistically weighted. Weighting is a procedure that adjusts for oversampling and for any discrepancies between the sample and the entire population from which the sample is drawn. The weighted responses of the survey participants that are presented in this report were calculated to reflect the prevalence of tobacco usage and related indicators among all Florida public middle and high school students within each county and for Florida as a whole.

The 2008 county-level FYTS was implemented in the spring of 2008. Sixty-six of the 67 Florida counties participated in this survey. The survey was administered to 38,510 middle school students (grades six to eight) and 40,283 high school students (grades nine to twelve) in 744 public schools throughout the state. The survey response rate for middle school students was 79% and the survey response rate for high school students was 73%. Sarasota County did not participate in the 2008 Florida Youth Survey and, therefore, has been omitted from this report. In addition, no middle school students from Gilchrist County participated in the survey so results for Gilchrist County are presented at the high school level only.

In this report, county values are presented for key indicators with maps for both middle and high school students, followed by detailed tables listing the prevalence by county. On each map, counties have been split into four groups: (1) counties with rates higher than the state rate and statistically significant; (2) counties with rates higher than the state rate, but not statistically significant; (3) counties with rates lower than the state rate, but not statistically significant; and (4) counties with rates lower than the state rate and statistically significant. Confidence intervals (C.I.s) were used to determine significance. A 95% C.I. is a range in which the “true” rate will fall 95% of the time. The tables in this document show the total percentage for the county, as well as the breakdown by gender for each county, including 95% C.I.s. These maps and tables will allow readers to view their county in comparison to other counties, as well as to the State of Florida. Results were omitted if there were less than 30 respondents for a specific indicator.

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