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Div. of Media Relations
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MS D-14
Atlanta, GA 30333
(404) 639-3286
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December 12, 2001
Contact: Matt Sones 
or Katie Curran
(770) 488-5493

Press Release

Pro-Athletes Help CDC Launch Tobacco-Free Sports Playbook

New Orleans Saints wide-receiver, Willie Jackson, and World Cup Mountain Bike Champion, Alison Dunlap, helped the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) release The Tobacco-Free Sports Playbook, a new publication aimed at helping youth say "no" to tobacco and "yes" to better health. The launch took place at a press conference at the National Conference on Tobacco and Health in New Orleans.

The Sports Playbook profiles many of the world's top athletes and sports figures and is designed to help communities throughout the country develop and implement programs that promote sports as a healthy alternative to tobacco use. It is part of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Tobacco-Free Sports Initiative.

"Sports activities are a great way to reach our nation's young people with information about how to make important health decisions–specifically, those decisions related to tobacco use, physical activity, and good nutrition," said CDC Director Dr. Jeffrey P. Koplan.

Research shows that students who participate in interscholastic sports are less likely to be heavy smokers while students who play at lease one sport are 40 percent less likely to be regular smokers and 50 percent less likely to be heavy smokers. Almost 90 percent of adult smokers began smoking before the age of 18. Each day, more than 3,000 kids become regular smokers and roughly one-third of them will eventually die from tobacco-related disease.

"By getting kids involved in sports, you are reducing the amount of unsupervised time they can spend doing things like using tobacco," Jackson said. "I am very proud to have the opportunity to support the Sports Playbook."

The Sports Playbook offers guidance and real-world examples of how coaches, teachers, school leaders, and community leaders can launch successful tobacco control initiatives and profiles many of the world's top athletes and sports figures in illustrating the wide variety of sports available to youth. "It is a step-by-step game plan for incorporating sports in tobacco-free activities," Koplan said.

For more information about this initiative or other tobacco control programs, call CDC's Office on Smoking and Health at 770-488-5747 or visit the Tobacco Information and Prevention Source at


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