The 2016 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA EURO 2016, was the 15th UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international men’s football championship of Europe organised by UEFA. It was held in France from 10 June to 10 July 2016.
Building upon policy work implemented at previous editions of the EURO and UEFA’s club competition finals, in 2015 UEFA announced that a ‘Tobacco-Free Policy’ prohibiting the use, sale and promotion of tobacco and e-cigarette products would operate across all internal and external areas of the ten French stadiums staging UEFA EURO 2016.
UEFA’s ambition to implement a tobacco-free tournament at UEFA EURO 2016 led to the creation of a partnership between UEFA and Healthy Stadia to develop a No Tobacco project that would protect all stadium users, including fans, staff, volunteers and contract workers against the health and safety dangers presented by tobacco use – in particular second-hand smoke – in enclosed spaces.
The policy was the most comprehensive and ambitious No Smoking policy to date operating at a major international tournament or cultural event that did not have solid grounding in national legislation and therefore recourse to financial penalties for those in breach of the policy.
Smoking , including the use of e-cigarettes, was strictly prohibited in all host stadia at UEFA EURO 2016. The No Smoking regulation applied without exception to all spaces within a designated ‘No Smoking’ perimeter at each stadium, including all internal and external aspects of host venues.
The policy applied to all stadium users, including fans, VIPs, staff, volunteers, media personnel and contractors. Any individual using tobacco or e-cigarette products beyond the No Smoking perimeter were asked to extinguish their product or cease usage.
Signage boards incorporating the joint No Smoking and E-Cigarette pictogram were present from the perimeter fencing onwards at host stadia. This included smoking hotspots areas such as entrances to toilets, concourses, catering areas, stairways and entrances to seating areas. Signage featuring wording in both English and French to communicate the policy to fans:
UEFA opted to take a soft approach to enforcement with Healthy Stadia training volunteers to intervene in instances of non-compliance in a non-confrontational manner. To support this approach, volunteers were equipped with yellow and red information cards to give to fans. These cards included further information about the policy, including why it was being implemented, and how it operated.
Volunteers also recorded the colour of card issued, whether it was for a tobacco or e-cigarette product and where the intervention took place inside the stadium in a bespoke diary. This data helped to focus on hotspot areas at the tournament.
Healthy Stadia published a case study following the tournament on the No Smoking policy that operated during UEFA EURO 2016 in France. The case study looks at some of the key challenges in terms of implementation, the effectiveness of yellow and red cards and recommendations for future sports tournaments.
In 2019, Healthy Stadia contributed to a new academic text called “Football as Medicine” examining the effect of football training on fitness but also the significance of football for public health. Healthy Stadia authored a chapter exploring the design, development and delivery of the No Smoking policy that operated at UEFA EURO 2016.