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‘Smoke Free Sport’ initiative launched

European Junior hammer-throwing medallist, Michaela Walsh was on hand with Athletics Ireland National Children’s Officer, Kieron Stout and HSE Tobacco Free Campus lead, Miriam Gunning to launch the ‘Smoke Free Sport’ initiative as part of Athletics Ireland’s commitment to the HSE National Tobacco Free Ireland Strategy (2013-2025).
“I am delighted to be part of this initiative on behalf of my sport. Athletics should be a safe healthy place for children and young people to participate and making it smoke free will go a long way to making that happen,” said Michaela.
One of the main actions in this Government Strategy is the promotion of tobacco-free campuses for sporting facilities in order to protect young people from the dangers of exposure to tobacco smoke and denormalise tobacco use for the next generation.
Athletics Ireland has committed to creating Tobacco Free Sport at its championships and national events to help improve health and wellbeing and to play its part in the achievement of the overall Tobacco Free Ireland target – a reduction in smoking prevalence to less than 5 per cent of the population by 2025.
“We are delighted work with the HSE to support our clubs in becoming smoke free anywhere children or young people gather to enjoy sport. Athletics is playing its part to help achieve the reduction in smoking prevalence target set out by the Government,” said Kieron Stout.
The Smoke Free Sport initiative is being rolled out to all Athletics Ireland clubs nationwide in 2019 and will include education through the Irish Cancer Society’s XHALE programme, information signposting at mass-participation events and support for clubs through the HSE’s QUIT service for its members.
“The decision to become a smoke-free sport is an important step towards achieving a tobacco-free Ireland. We know that young people are hugely influenced by what they see and hear. We know that adults around them are powerful role models for both negative and positive health behaviours. Making the commitment to become a smoke-free sport sets an example for the younger generation of athletes and their supporters,” said Miriam Gunning.
For more information on Tobacco Free Sport in Athletics, please contact the National Children’s officer and HR manager Kieron Stout: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./01 8869933.

Miriam Gunning, HSE Tobacco Free Campus lead and Tobacco Free Ireland ambassador and hammer thrower, Michaela Walsh. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

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