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On World No Tobacco Day, Diane Abbott MP writes to Lord Coe and Boris to demand tobacco-free Olympics

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31 May 2011
The Shadow Public Health Minister, Diane Abbott MP, has pressed the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games over plans to make London 2012 tobacco-free, on World No Tobacco Day.

Ms Abbott said:

‘Alongside Ireland, New York and Norway, the last British Labour government showed leadership in bringing about real change on tobacco control.

‘We introduced the smoking ban in pubs and enclosed spaces, ended sports sponsorship and billboard advertising, raised the legal age of purchasing cigarettes and put graphic warnings on cigarette packs.’

‘We often had to push on with these policies against industry and public opinion.’

‘We have worked hard to bring the Olympic Games to Britain. It should, again, be a time in which we take a lead and showcase what Britain is about to the rest of the world.’

‘Public health advocates have been urging LOCOG to make the London Olympics tobacco-free since 2009 to no avail. So to put it on the public record, I tabled a PQ and was pleased to see DCMS and the DH confirm their aspiration for a tobacco-free Olympic games.’

‘It was also confirmed that LOCOG will not be appointing a tobacco sponsor and that tobacco and cigarettes will not be sold at any of the Olympic or Paralympic venues. Furthermore that smoking will also be prohibited in all ticketed sports competition, venues for the games (for example the Olympic Stadium and the Velodrome), as well as the athletes' village.’

‘However, LOCOG has so far done nothing to publicise this commitment themselves, and the opportunity to promote a tobacco-free Olympics is slipping away. LOCOG must take the lead on this, urgently.’

‘We also need further detail on what tobacco-free will mean in practice. In particular: will the Olympic park be tobacco-free indoors and out? When LOCOG says that the athletes’ village will be smoke-free, will this include the entire facility? Will the use of Olympic events for corporate hospitality by tobacco companies be prohibited? Will the ‘no sponsorship’ policy extends to sponsorship of individual teams and broadcasting rights in third countries?’

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