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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 4 June 2012

Commissioner Dalli and UEFA President Michel Platini agree ‘smoke-free’ EURO 2012 will score goals for Europe’s health

Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli and UEFA President, Michel Platini, today announce their joint support of tobacco-free sporting events to help promote a smoke-free Europe. UEFA's decision to ban tobacco from the world's third-biggest sporting event aligns with the European Commission’s ongoing efforts in tobacco cessation and control and sends a strong and inspirational message to men and women across Europe about the value of a life without tobacco.

Commissioner Dalli is delighted with UEFA's decision and underlined its potential wider impact: "UEFA is leading from the front with a tobacco-free EURO 2012 and setting the standard for sporting initiatives across Europe. Much like our “Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable” campaign, seeking to inspire men and women across Europe to give up cigarettes and become ‘unstoppable’ in their smoke-free lives, a tobacco-free EURO 2012 can inspire millions to quit smoking and score goals for their health! It can mark the beginning of a new life that our campaign can help sustain.

UEFA President Michel Platini said: “A tobacco-free EURO 2012 is about respecting the health of our spectators and everyone else involved in the tournament. A complete ban on the use, sale or promotion of tobacco in all stadia involved in UEFA EURO 2012 is a demonstration of UEFA's wider commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles through football."

The “Ex-smokers are Unstoppable” campaign is an initiative launched to address the overwhelming burden of tobacco-related disease and mortality across the EU. “Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable” seeks to support men and women across Europe to quit or continue to stay away from tobacco through motivating and inspirational messaging and activities such as football. Uniquely “Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable” promotes the positive benefits of a life without tobacco; which include better health, better social interaction, more money and ultimately a better quality of life.

Background

Tobacco is the single largest cause of avoidable death in the EU, accounting for around 650 000 premature deaths per year. Successful tobacco control must tackle the problem from every conceivable angle. The "Ex-smokers are Unstoppable" campaign is an important element of the Commission's tobacco policy in addition to legislation and support to Member States.

“Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable” includes a website (www.exsmokers.eu) available in all EU languages, 27 national Facebook pages and is realised through a series of pan-European events. Crucial practical support and advice is also available through iCoach, a state-of-the-art online health tool accessed for free through the campaign website.

Support for the campaign has been overwhelming with over a million unique visitors accessing its social media pages, and more than 160, 000 men and women actively seeking support through the iCoach service to date. With further activities planned throughout 2012, the campaign looks set to inspire an ever-growing European audience of smokers and ex-smokers alike.

For more information please visit:

www.exsmokers.eu

http://www.uefa.com/

The Public Health Portal of the European Union:

http://health.europa.eu

The Public Health website of the European Commission:

http://ec.europa.eu/health/tobacco/policy/index_en.htm

Commissioner John Dalli's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/dalli/index_en.htm

Contacts :

Frédéric Vincent (+32 2 298 71 66)

Aikaterini Apostola (+32 2 298 76 24)


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