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IP/04/735

Brussels, 11 June 2004

EURO 2004 feels free to say no to smoking

Who will win the match between France and England at the European Football Championships EURO 2004 in Lisbon on Sunday, 13 June? On the pitch, it’s anyone’s guess, but for all those watching the match, the clear winners will be non-smokers – as UEFA has dedicated the day of the match to non-smoking. One of the practical consequences will be that football fans watching their teams in Lisbon’s Luz stadium will not be exposed to passive smoking. The symbolic smoke-free EURO 2004 day will be celebrated together with “Feel free to say no”, the EU’s anti-smoking campaign targeting young people (see IP/04/323). Two new campaign television commercials will be shown on the screens of the stadium to further promote the smoke-free day. Further activities in Lisbon that day include a 17 metre long “Feel free to say no” campaign truck with a stage which will be used for games, quiz shows, competitions and live performances by pop bands. The basis for the symbolic smoke-free EURO 2004 day is a cooperation agreement signed by UEFA President Lennart Johansson and EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne just before the kick-off of the 2002 World Cup.

David Byrne said: “The launch of the ‘Feel free to say no’ campaign in May 2002 coincided with the kick-off of the 2002 World Cup. So I was very pleased that UEFA teamed up with the EU for the fight to stop young people smoking. 8 out of 10 people who smoke start between the ages of 12 and 18. Once they are hooked by the nicotine, these people no longer have a real choice. They are trapped. That is why we want young people to feel free to say no to tobacco while they still have that choice. Well-known footballers – who were later joined by international pop stars – helped us to grab the attention of young people. The credibility of such non-smoking stars supports the message ‘Be cool – don’t smoke’.”

New print adverts
The two television commercials to be shown in Lisbon’s Luz stadium are being broadcast throughout Europe by national and Europe-wide channels like Eurosport. At the same time, new print adverts of “Feel free to say no” are being published in all major youth magazines in EU Member States. The ads have an eye-catching layout and use provocative buzz words such as “Target”, “Victim” and “Slave” to make young people aware of the intentions of the tobacco industry. National versions of the television commercials and the print adverts were produced in close cooperation with the campaign’s national partners (for further information see
http://www.feel-free.info/).

Olympic torch relay in Brussels on 22 June

From Lisbon, the “Feel free to say no” campaign truck will hit the road to go to Brussels where “Feel free to say no” and EYES – the European Year of Education through Sport 2004 (see http://www.eyes-2004.info/ ) – will present the start of the Brussels Olympic torch relay on 22 June. The programme will include sporting and entertainment events.


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