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February 11, 2002
Contact: CDC, Office on Smoking and Health
(770) 4885493

Press Release

CDC Highlights Tobacco-Free Sports at Winter Olympics

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is launching the new Tobacco-Free Sports public education campaign at the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to publicize the tobacco-free policy at the games, and promote the health benefits of an active tobacco smoke-free lifestyle.

"The United States is proud to host these tobacco-free Olympic Games," said Tommy G. Thompson, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. "I cannot think of a better platform to encourage our nation's youth to make important health decisions related to tobacco use, physical activity, and good nutrition."

Smoking and use of other tobacco products is not permitted at any Olympic venue during the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games except in specific designated outdoor areas. The tobacco-free policy covers any enclosed place of public access, indoor venues, seating bowls at outdoor venues, enclosed bars or restaurants at venues, living quarters, other enclosed places in the Olympic and Paralympic Villages, and any Olympic transport vehicles. No tobacco products can be sold at any Olympic or Paralympic designated sites.

"Sports and physical activity are deeply incompatible with smoking," said Dr. Jaques Rogge, President of the IOC. "We also firmly believe that sport can serve as an instrument of preventive education to youth to avoid unhealthy behaviors. This is why Olympic Games have been a smoke-free event, in cooperation with the World Health Organization and the organizing committees."

For the Tobacco-Free Sports public education campaign, CDC developed television public service announcements featuring ten U.S. Olympic athletes. Speedskating stars Jennifer Rodriquez, Derek Parra, and KC Boutiette are featured in the announcements in addition to Jean Racine and Darrin Steele (bobsled), Rachel Steer (biathlon), Lea Ann Parsley (skeleton), and Pete Thorndike (snowboarding). In the PSAs, the athletes endorse a smoke-free healthy lifestyle which they believe helped them achieve their highest potential. Paralympians who also expressed their support of a smoke-free, physically active lifestyle include U.S. Disabled Ski Team Mono-skiers Muffy Davis and Chris Waddell who explain to young people that tobacco use interferes with peak performance. The athletes also encourage parents to set good examples by not smoking.

A new Olympic poster featuring U.S. ski team star Picabo Street, USA Hockey and NHL Dallas Stars, Mike Modano, Lincoln DeWitt, a member of the skeleton team, snowboarder Rosey Fletcher, and Paralympian Davis has been printed as part of the campaign. The TV spots and the poster highlight the Tobacco-Free Sports logo developed in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the FederationInternationale de Football Association (FIFA). The Winter Games activities are part of a global Tobacco-Free Sports campaign which WHO, CDC, and their international partners launched in Geneva, Switzerland, in November 2001.

"These new education materials are wonderful resources because we recognize that athletes are among the most admired role models for young people, who emulate the behaviors they witness in their heros," said CDC Director Dr. Jeffrey P. Koplan.

The Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games of 2002 (SLOC) has agreed to run the spots in the Olympic venues throughout the Olympic Games which kicked off February 8. State health departments are working with local TV stations to air the spots. The in-school television network Channel One is airing them during February, and Web search engine YAHOO is featuring Tobacco-Free Sports messages in on-line banner ads through the month of April.

"Salt Lake Olympic Committee's tobacco-free policy was adopted in an effort to protect athletes, staff, spectators, and journalists from the harmful effects of tobacco," said Mitt Romney, Salt Lake Olympic Committee President and CEO. "Our policy reflects Olympic tradition regarding the hosting of healthy sporting events that inspire people to reach their full potential."

"We are glad that the Olympic movement recognizes the dangers of using tobacco and exposure to secondhand smoke. This policy not only protects non-smokers from exposure to secondhand smoke, but also encourages smokers to quit. We congratulate the Olympic Organizers for supporting this important public health initiative," said Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of WHO.

A satellite feed of the TV spots will occur on Monday, February 11 at 10 a.m. EST and again at 2 p.m. EST. Satellite feed information is as follows:

CBAND   KUBAND
Galaxy 4R-C19   Galaxy 11-K14
Location 99% West   Location 91% West
Downlink Frequency 4080   Downlink Frequency 11980
Horizontal Down   Vertical Down
Audio 6.2/6.8   Audio 6.2/6.8

 

To view the new tobacco-free Olympic TV spots and poster, visit CDC's Tobacco Information and Prevention Source web site at www.cdc.gov/tobacco. To obtain a videotape copy of the TV spots, please contact the CDC Media Campaign Resource Center at 770-488-5705, extension 2 or mcrc@cdc.gov. For more information on smoking and programs to reduce tobacco use, also visit WHO's web site at tobacco.who.int.

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CDC protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.


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