Durbin and Senator Call for End to Cigar Company’s Sponsorship of NCAA Orange Bowl

Tobacco advertisement in sports sends the wrong message to young fans

WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–December 22, 2011. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) was joined by Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in calling on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Orange Bowl Committee to reconsider a three-year agreement making a cigar company – Camacho Cigars – a corporate sponsor of the Discover Orange Bowl.

“Tobacco has no place in sports, and the promotion of cigars at the Orange Bowl sends the wrong message to young fans,” the Senators wrote.    “A tobacco company’s sponsorship of the Orange Bowl undermines a premier collegiate sporting event and promotes tobacco use to young fans, putting them at risk of developing an addictive and dangerous habit. Furthermore, Camacho Cigars’ sponsorship is at odds with the NCAA rules prohibiting tobacco use by student athletes and all game personnel in any form at practice and in competitions.”

According to the National Cancer Institute, cigar smoking is linked to cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, and esophagus.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that, of the 13 million Americans who smoke cigars, an estimated 1.8 million are high school students and 475,000 are middle school students. 

Earlier this year, Durbin, Lautenberg, Blumenthal and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) led an effort against the use of smokeless tobacco in Major League Baseball (MLB).  On the eve of the 2011 World Series, the Senators called on the MLB Players Association to join Commissioner Bud Selig in banning the use of all tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco, on the field, in the dugout, and in the locker rooms at MLB venues.  Shortly after the season ended, MLB baseball announced a new collective bargaining agreement that prohibits players, managers, and coaches from using smokeless tobacco during televised interviews and Club appearances and, when fans are permitted in the ballpark, they must conceal tobacco products and may not carry tobacco products in their uniforms or on their bodies at any time.

Last week, Durbin, Lautenberg and Blumenthal joined Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in sending a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asking it to ban flavored cigars.  According to the Senators, this ban would help decrease the staggering rate of cigar use by children and young adults by removing these harmful products from the marketplace.

[Text of the letters below]

December 22, 2011

Mark Emmert, President
The National Collegiate Athletic Association
700 W. Washington Street
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-6222

Dear Mr. Emmert,

We write to urge the Orange Bowl Committee and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to reconsider the three-year agreement making Camacho Cigars a corporate sponsor of the Discover Orange Bowl. Tobacco has no place in sports, and the promotion of cigars at the Orange Bowl sends the wrong message to young fans.

Under the sponsorship agreement, Camacho Cigars will have a significant presence at the Orange Bowl, including cigar lounges open to fans, a lounge at the largest pre-game event, and the Camacho Cigars’ logo on the official Orange Bowl website. This sponsorship uses a high-profile and prestigious sporting event to promote tobacco use and undermines the long fight to end sport and entertainment sponsorships that promote tobacco products, particularly to youth.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 bans sponsorship of sporting and entertainment events by cigarette and smokeless tobacco brands. Cigars contain the same toxic and cancer-causing chemicals found in cigarettes, and public health experts have warned that cigars are not a safe alternative to cigarettes. According to the National Cancer Institute, cigar smoking is linked to cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, and esophagus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 13 million Americans smoke cigars, including 11 percent of high school students, making cigar smoking the second most common form of tobacco use among youth. 

A tobacco company’s sponsorship of the Orange Bowl undermines a premier collegiate sporting event and promotes tobacco use to young fans, putting them at risk of developing an addictive and dangerous habit. Furthermore, Camacho Cigars’ sponsorship is at odds with the NCAA rules prohibiting tobacco use by student athletes and all game personnel in any form at practice and in competitions. We commend the NCAA for its internal policy forbidding tobacco use and urge the NCAA and Orange Bowl Committee to protect the health of their fans by reconsidering Camacho Cigars’ sponsorship of the Discover Orange Bowl.

Sincerely,

December 22, 2011

Jeffrey Roberts, President and Chairman of the Board
Orange Bowl Committee
14360 NW 77th Court
Miami Lakes, FL 33016

Dear Mr. Roberts,

We write to urge the Orange Bowl Committee and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to reconsider the three-year agreement making Camacho Cigars a corporate sponsor of the Discover Orange Bowl. Tobacco has no place in sports, and the promotion of cigars at the Orange Bowl sends the wrong message to young fans.

Under the sponsorship agreement, Camacho Cigars will have a significant presence at the Orange Bowl, including cigar lounges open to fans, a lounge at the largest pre-game event, and the Camacho Cigars’ logo on the official Orange Bowl website. This sponsorship uses a high-profile and prestigious sporting event to promote tobacco use and undermines the long fight to end sport and entertainment sponsorships that promote tobacco products, particularly to youth.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 bans sponsorship of sporting and entertainment events by cigarette and smokeless tobacco brands. Cigars contain the same toxic and cancer-causing chemicals found in cigarettes, and public health experts have warned that cigars are not a safe alternative to cigarettes. According to the National Cancer Institute, cigar smoking is linked to cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, and esophagus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 13 million Americans smoke cigars, including 11 percent of high school students, making cigar smoking the second most common form of tobacco use among youth. 

A tobacco company’s sponsorship of the Orange Bowl undermines a premier collegiate sporting event and promotes tobacco use to young fans, putting them at risk of developing an addictive and dangerous habit. Furthermore, Camacho Cigars’ sponsorship is at odds with the NCAA rules prohibiting tobacco use by student athletes and all game personnel in any form at practice and in competitions. We commend the NCAA for its internal policy forbidding tobacco use and urge the NCAA and Orange Bowl Committee to protect the health of their fans by reconsidering Camacho Cigars’ sponsorship of the Discover Orange Bowl.

Sincerely, 

Source: durbin.senate.gov