a civil society alliance for combatting chronic disease in the caribbean

Healthy Caribbean Coalition - March 19, 2009 - Smoke Free Games

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On behalf of the Medical Commission for Caribbean Games 2009, Dr. Terry Ali (Chairman), Dr. Ian Hypolite and Dr. Adrian Lorde (Barbados) and the Medical Advisory Committee of CG09 it gives me great pleasure to join with the Bloomberg Foundation and the Cancer Society of Trinidad and Tobago to promote the inaugural Caribbean Games 2009 as a “Smoke Free” event.

There is no doubt that there is nothing that embraces and displays the spirit of mankind as sport. Whether as an athlete, an official or a spectator or even a recreational participant, none can deny the indelible impact the power of sport has. Caribbean Games 2009 promises to be no different and as such we feel that the opportunity cannot be missed to promote the highest ideals of sport participation in every way. One aspect of this approach is seen in our partnership with the Bloomberg Foundation in the ‘SAVE’ campaign which will promote the CG09 as a “Smoke Free” event.

The use of Sporting events to promote such messages is by no means a new occurrence as every IOC sanctioned games since Calgary 1988 have been promoted as smoke free events. Most recently at the Beijing Olympics 2008 the city was declared a “Smoke Free” zone, several months prior to the event. None, more that the citizens of that city have seen the positive effects that this has made to their daily lives. President of the IOC, Dr. Jacques Rogge said, “Sports and physical activity are deeply incompatible with smoking and we also firmly believe that sport can serve as an instrument of preventive education to youth to avoid unhealthy behaviors”.

It is with honor and optimism that we are happy to have with us today in solidarity with this campaign a living legend and national hero Mr. Hasley Crawford as well as our young national athletes, all of whom agree with Australian Olympian and icon Kathy Freeman’s statement that: “Tobacco use and Sports just don’t mix.”

It should also be recognized that this campaign is in keeping with the National Sport Policy for use of venues which states that “Smoking is absolutely prohibited at all facilities under the control of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs.”

The campaign will have several dimensions which include education, advocacy and enforcement and will involve all Caribbean Games personnel at all levels of the weeklong event. Caribbean Games 2009 recognizes the enormous potential to lead the way in promoting smoke free environments and our ability to ignite a lasting legacy to use this opportunity to improve public health practices.

And thus we say:

  • The Caribbean Games 2009 is a celebration of sporting excellence and healthy lifestyles and as such there is no room for association with tobacco products which can be linked to millions of deaths globally.
  • The Caribbean Games 2009 is happy to follow the best practices established by Framework Convention on Tobacco Control of the World Health Organization and the Ministries of Health and Sport and Youth Affairs on tobacco-free sports.
  • There are no safe levels of exposure to secondhand smoke, there is no safe alternative to a 100% smoke free policy at Caribbean Games 2009

André Collins
Medical & Anti-Doping Services Coordinator Caribbean Games 2009

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