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No Tobacco at EURO 2012

The 14th Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) European Football Championship (EURO 2012) will be completely tobacco free. UEFA’s decision to ban tobacco from the world’s third largest sporting event sends a strong message to football fans everywhere, reaffirming the link between football and good health.

UEFA will enforce a complete ban on the use, sale or promotion of tobacco in all stadia involved in the tournament. The regulation will apply without exception to all spaces within stadia perimeters, both indoors and outdoors. This tobacco-free policy was developed with the World Health Organization (WHO), World Heart Federation, European Healthy Stadia Network, local organizing committees in the host countries, Poland and Ukraine, and local health advocacy groups.

Tobacco use contributes to the deaths of some 650 000 European Union (EU) citizens a year, including thousands who never smoked but had to breathe the smoke from others. As policies ensuring smoke-free environments are becoming the norm around the world, more and more Europeans have come to expect clean air in public places.

“A tobacco-free EURO 2012 is about respecting the health of our spectators and everyone else involved in the tournament,” said UEFA President Michel Platini. “We uphold the highest standards of health, safety and comfort at our flagship tournament, and tobacco does not fit within them.”

“A tobacco-free EURO 2012 makes so much sense,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “Tobacco use kills and causes serious illnesses. This is a great example of what can be done within the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which is already scoring goals across Europe.”

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, was delighted with UEFA’s decision and pointed out its potential for impact: “EURO 2012 will be a magnet for millions of spectators and fans; in addition, a tobacco-free EURO 2012 sets standards for other sporting events around the continent.”

Urging host cities to work with health advocates to ensure smoke-free public transport, restaurants and fan zones, she added: “Football and sport is about health and performance, and tobacco is about the opposite: they just don’t mix.”