Dec 20, 2011 at 06:24 PM
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Health Groups Ask Orange Bowl, NCAA To Put Out Cigar Sponsorship

Major public health groups, including the American Cancer Society and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, are taking issue with Orange Bowl's newest sponsor: Davidoff's Camacho Cigars. They are calling on the Orange Bowl Committee and the NCAA to cancel the cigar company's three year sponsorship, announced earlier this month.

Under the sponsorship agreement, Camacho Cigars will have a substantial presence at Sun Life stadium, with cigar lounges open to fans, and there will be a Camacho Club Lounge at the Orange Bowl Game Day Fan Zone, the largest pre-game event. The Camacho Cigars logo is also featured on the official Orange Bowl website.

In an open letter to the Orange Bowl Committee and the NCAA, 10 major public health and medical groups said the cigar sponsorship should be cancelled because it promotes tobacco use, the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The groups are the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society, American Society Cancer Action Network, American Dental Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Medical Association, Legacy and Oral Health America.

"The association of cigar smoking with one of the nation's top collegiate sporting events sends the wrong message to impressionable young fans and helps market cigars as athletic, masculine and cool. Linking tobacco use to sports also downplays the serious health risks of tobacco products," the groups wrote.

"Tobacco has no place in athletics, and certainly should not have a place at the Orange Bowl, one of the nation's premier sporting events."

The health groups said the cigar company sponsorship also is at odds with NCAA rules that forbid student-athletes and all game personnel from using tobacco in any form at practice or in competitions.

"This blatant promotion of cigars at a high-profile sporting event continues the tobacco industry's decades-long practice of using sports and entertainment sponsorships to promote tobacco products, especially to youth. Cigarette and smokeless tobacco brand sponsorships are not allowed – for good reason – under the landmark federal law giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco products," the groups wrote.

Read The Full Letter Here >>