Healthy Stadia supports World No Tobacco Day 2021

World No Tobacco Day 2021

Healthy Stadia supports World No Tobacco Day 2021

World No Tobacco Day takes place around the world every year on 31 May and helps to inform the public of the dangers of using tobacco, how to find support to quit using tobacco and what stakeholders around the world are doing to combat the tobacco epidemic.

This World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is encouraging the estimated 1.3 billion tobacco users worldwide to consider quitting – so they can be a winner.

Without adequate support, quitting can be really challenging. This is because the nicotine found in tobacco products is highly addictive and creates dependence. The behavioural and emotional ties to tobacco use, such as having a cigarette with your morning coffee, or when feeling stressed or overwhelmed – perhaps when your sports team is not performing well – makes it even harder to kick the habit.

That is why the WHO recommends accessing professional support and smoking cessation services, as these double an individual’s chances of quitting, and beating the addiction.

Another way in which society can support smokers wanting to quit, is to create No Smoking environments. By prohibiting the use of tobacco products in public and in social settings, we can help to reduce peer pressure and dissociate tobacco use with social events including sports events.

Alongside protecting sports fans from the dangers of second-hand smoke, many sports stadia now ban tobacco and e-cigarette use to create smokefree environments conducive to helping people quit.

Indeed, this summer’s UEFA EURO 2020 tournament will operate a complete tobacco-free policy across the 11 host stadia. This tournament-wide policy exceeds regional and national tobacco control laws in place for matches hosted in Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Munich, Rome, and Seville.

Healthy Stadia has been heavily involved in the development of the tournament-wide policy that will operate at UEFA EURO 2020. Site visits have been conducted at all host venues to establish whether they have any pre-existing policies regarding tobacco use and whether these are supported by regional or national tobacco control legislation.

In addition to developing the competition policy, Healthy Stadia has also produced No Smoking signage placement guides for all stadia and has provided training for stewards and security to help them to respond to fans smoking in a non-confrontational manner.

Healthy Stadia is currently in advanced discussions with several UEFA Member Associations hosting UEFA EURO 2020 matches this summer regarding extending the No Smoking policies in operation during the tournament into their domestic football competitions.

We argue it is now a minimum standard for fans attending professional football matches in Europe to do so with the guarantee of clean air that is not contaminated by second-hand smoke. We are therefore calling on the football family to eliminate the use of tobacco at football matches across Europe by 2025.

Our Tobacco Free Football 2025 campaign is currently attracting support from several national football leagues and UEFA Member Associations in Europe toward adopting a Tobacco Free Stadia Declaration.

The ability for sports organisations and stadium operators to implement a comprehensive tobacco-free policy under their own volition is the driving force behind the notion of a Tobacco-Free Declaration. This declaration will enable organisations in the absence of sufficient national legislation to: 1) make a statement of intent to become tobacco-free; 2) provide guidance to plan and implement measures in a collaborative, effective and timely way; and, 3) take action to protect stadia users from second-hand smoke and other tobacco harms.

It is also hoped that our Tobacco Free Stadia Declaration will help support measures to reduce transmission of coronavirus in crowded sports stadia such as the wearing of face coverings. By prohibiting the use of tobacco and e-cigarettes in stadia, and therefore ensure face coverings are worn at all times, we can reduce aerosol generating behaviours such as coughing and sneezing caused by irritation of the mouth, nose, throat, and lungs.

For more information regarding World No Tobacco Day, please visit:

Michael Viggars

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