ACSM Calls for Cessation of Tobacco

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) took a stand against tobacco advertising in conjunction with women’s sports events at its 48th Annual Meeting. It recommended that women’s sporting events begin to separate from tobacco advertising, and gradually end tobacco support completely.

ACSM’s recommendation follows U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher’s presentation at ACSM’s Health & Fitness Summit and the release of Women and Smoking: A Report of the U.S. Surgeon General. ACSM president-elect Angela D. Smith, M.D., FACSM, says, “Our ACSM mission includes supporting continued improvement to the health, performance and safety of athletes. We strongly recommend reduction and then elimination of tobacco sponsorship in sports, especially sports with significant female participation and fan base.”

Citing concern for the impact of tobacco advertising on young female sports fans, Carol L. Otis, M.D., FACSM, ACSM’s past president of the Strategic Health Initiative for Women, Sport and Physical Activity, says that tobacco advertising at women’s sporting events creates a conflict with the images of exercise and athletic performance that must be addressed. “Girls look to women athletes for an example of how to behave and live their lives, and responsible adults should take steps to see that young people remain tobacco free. Eliminating tobacco support from the events where girls see these athletes is a major and important step,” says Otis.

ACSM calls for women’s professional sports organizations and national sports governing bodies to take the lead in identifying alternatives to tobacco advertising in women’s sports. It also encourages cooperation among women’s health organizations to work toward the goal of tobacco-free women’s sports.

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