Smoke Free Soccer—Coaches Manual: Policy
Smoking is a serious problem. The U.S. Surgeon General says that young people who smoke are risking their health both on and off the field. Smokers suffer from problems that make it harder for them to play sports. The long-term health problems cause by smoking may seem to be in the distant future, but they're real. Each year, smoking kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, drug abuse, car crashes, murders, suicides and fire - combined!
We also know that young people who play strenuous sports like soccer are less likely to smoke. For these reasons - and many others - we encourage you to make your team and league SmokeFree by adopting the following policies:
- SmokeFree kids should play on SmokeFree fields. Players and coaches should encourage family members and fans to avoid smoking at games and practices.
- Refuse tobacco company advertising or sponsorship of any type.
- Discuss your support of SmokeFree soccer policies at preseason meetings of coaches and families.
- Show your support. Display the SmokeFree Soccer logo on team or league uniforms and publications.
The Real Deal About Tobacco
- Smoking cuts down on fitness. So if you smoke, you're not going to be able to run as fast or as far as your smoke-free teammates or opponents!
- Smoking slows down lung growth and makes it harder to breathe. That can leave you gulping for air when you need it most!
- Teen smokers suffer from shortness of breath almost three times as often as teens who don't smoke. Breath is something an athlete can't afford to be short on!
- Three out of four teens who smoke every day say they keep smoking because it's really hard to quit. Do you want to be hooked on nicotine or sports?
- Compared to nonsmokers at rest, the hearts of young adult smokers beat an extra two or three times per minute. So in competition, a smoker's body wastes a lot of heartbeats just trying to keep up with non-smokers!
- Teen smokers produce phlegm (yuck!) more than twice as often as teens who don't smoke. Ever try breathing and spitting at the same time?