Tobacco-Free Sports is an international initiative which aims to reduce the harm of tobacco by addressing the relationship between tobacco use and sport. пЃ® Tobacco-free sport and recreation means everyone taking part in a sport or recreational activity does not use tobacco industry products. It means participants, spectators, coaches and leaders do not smoke, snuff, dip, or chew tobacco while engaged in the activities of your organization. пЃ® Tobacco-Free Policy: developing policy materials and pledge systems to assist sports and recreational organizations in creating tobacco-free policies пЃ® Tobacco-Free Resources: developing manuals and training materials to promote policy and prevention messaging around tobacco-free sports пЃ® Winning Role Models and Messages: working with high profile athletes, minor sport athletes, sport leaders and other stakeholders to ensure accuracy and engagement in messaging and other aspects of program delivery пЃ® Evaluating to Stay on Track: developing and implementing a program evaluation framework Children and youth model their behaviour after the people they look up to coaches, leaders, family, and peers. Tobacco use counters the health benefits gained by participating in sport and recreational activities. Cigarette butts are the main source of litter in cities and on beaches. It takes 15 years for a cigarette butt to biodegrade. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, even outdoors. It is important for youth to receive the same tobacco-free messages at their local sport or recreation activities as they experience at school and in the wider community. The temptation to use tobacco industry products is reduced when it is restricted in public spaces. пЃ® пЃ® пЃ® пЃ® Ontario public health officials have created a tobacco-free sports and recreation policy toolkit, with the overall goal of encouraging local sport and recreation organizations to adopt a tobacco-free policy. This toolkit builds on the effort of health agencies in Canada and the United States that have begun working with their local sport and recreation clubs towards this mandate. Tobacco-free sport and recreation policy means that athletes, coaches and spectators refrain from using any form of tobacco product while participating in sporting events. The toolkit contains much of the content from www.playlivebetobaccofree.ca, including a number of sample documents and case studies in one package for ease of use offline. A tobacco-free policy sends a clear message that your organization values a tobacco-free lifestyle. There are four basic steps for making an effective tobacco-free sport and recreation policy: пЃ® пЃ® пЃ® пЃ® Create the tobacco-free policy Promote the tobacco-free policy Reinforce the tobacco-free policy Review the tobacco-free policy пЃ® пЃ® пЃ® пЃ® Know your Cause Know What You Want Build Partnerships Find a Champion It is important for local action groups to build a relationship with at least one elected municipal representative who will be a champion for your cause. пЃ® Advocate for the Policy In addition to helping municipal government understand that tobacco-free outdoor spaces are important, you should also document and present information about community support for tobacco-free outdoor spaces пЃ® Follow-up with Council & Media Contact the media to ask them to feature your story. Know the facts about youth and tobacco use. пЃ® пЃ® пЃ® пЃ® пЃ® пЃ® пЃ® пЃ® пЃ® пЃ® пЃ® пЃ® Young people who do not start using tobacco by age 18 will most likely never start. Smoking slows lung growth, decreases lung function and reduces the oxygen available for muscles used in sports. Smokers suffer from shortness of breath almost 3 times more often than nonsmokers. Other tobacco products such as вЂњchewвЂќ (spit tobacco), flavoured and unflavoured cigarillos, cigars, snuff or pipe tobacco are not safe alternatives to cigarettes. Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in Canada, causing heart and lung diseases, cancers and strokes. Take a stand вЂ“ early and often. Recognize your influence with young people. DonвЂ™t use tobacco industry products around them. Remind participants of the importance of being tobacco-free. When talking to players remember they relate more to messages about the immediate effects of tobacco use (such as poorer athletic performance) than to its long-term threats. Adopt and reinforce a tobacco-free policy for players, coaches, referees and spectators. Send a copy of the tobacco-free policy home for review. Challenge spectators to give their personal support to the players by respecting a tobacco-free zone. Thunder Bay - October 2008 Thunder Bay City Council voted Monday, Oct. 27th to establish a Committee of Council & Stakeholders to recommend appropriate 'tobacco-free' regulations for the city's parks and recreation areas. These proposed regulations will become amendments to the city's Smoke-Free By-law. The Committee will host public meeting with a timeline to report back by April 2009 . Potential implementation could be as early as July 1st. Excellent groundwork by the two local YAA's - Youth Action Alliances. Peer Leaders did a comprehensive lobby of Council members over the summer and as additional demonstration of public support presented Council with 5,000 signed postcards. The City Council deputation included members from Tobacco Free T. Bay, local Medical Association & YAA . The actual Council meeting featured 'soft-ball' questions from City Councilors that showed their understanding of the issue and familiarity with the talking points. (Councilors liked Woodstock-style tobacco use setbacks / designated areas.) Only one vote against. Good job around. Everyone deserves to be able to live, play, and be in tobacco free environments. Visit: www.liveplaybetobaccofree.ca for more information, and for helpful downloads.