UEFA has taken the health of football fans into account by banning the use, sale and promotion of tobacco in all stadiums during UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
The ban, which was announced last autumn, applies unequivocally to all spaces within stadium perimeters, both indoors and out. This tobacco-free policy was developed and has been implemented in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Heart Federation, European Healthy Stadia Network, local organising committees (LOCs) in Poland and Ukraine and local health advocacy groups.
Put into place to protect the health, safety and comfort of all fans and other tournament participants, the tobacco ban has complemented other activities during UEFA EURO 2012 under UEFA's Respect campaign, including the jersey exchange initiative which capitalises on the visibility and unifying factor of football to promote social harmony.
Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner responsible for sport, was delighted with UEFA's decision and underlined its potential wider impact, saying: "EURO 2012 will be a magnet for millions of spectators and fans, so this sends a powerful message. A tobacco-free EURO 2012 sets the standard for other sporting events across the continent. Football and sport are about health and performance, and tobacco is about the opposite – they just don't mix."
UEFA's decision to ban tobacco from the world's third biggest sporting event sent a strong message to fans everywhere, reaffirming the link between football and good health. The total ban is a natural outcome of UEFA's commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles through football. This is a core theme of its Respect your Health football and social responsibility activities, which use football to help with some of Europe's top health, social and environmental problems.
Since the UEFA announcement of the ban the Ukrainian parliament has approved legislation that prohibits smoking in public places, including restaurants, stadiums and government buildings throughout Ukraine – further underlining the importance of this global movement which recognises the dangers of smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke.
Thanks to all football fans for respecting and supporting the UEFA EURO 2012 ban initiative, and for being part of the wider global movement which will improve health for all.
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