The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee and the World Health Organization (WHO) have held a conference to announce that a "Union of Tobacco-Free Cities" has been created. Delegates fr om 17 cities attended the conference. Representatives from Sochi, Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan, Krasnoyarsk, Arkhangelsk and Novosibirsk all supported the proposal to create the Union which will become an integral part of the "Tobacco-Free Cities" and "Healthy Cities" initiatives developed by the WHO. The Union is tasked with protecting people against the harmful effects of tobacco consumption and second hand smoke. It will also serve as a forum wh ere representatives of Russia's regions can discuss the tobacco control initiatives.
The Olympic Games in Sochi will be the twelfth Games to be tobacco-free and will protect over 155,000 athletes, sports delegation representatives and volunteers against second hand smoke every day.
The conference was attended by representatives of legislative and executive authorities, the heads of administration of the participating cities, including the mayor of Sochi, Anatoly Pakhomov, the heads of the federal and regional health ministries, as well as representatives of the WHO's European office and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. Within the conference, the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee demonstrated the results of its work to promote healthy living, sport and physical activity.
At the conference, delegates set out the goal and performance objectives of the "Union of Tobacco-Free Cities", how they will implement a strategy to create a tobacco-free environment at local and regional levels and how it will create models which can then be used across the whole country.
The Union will take charge of promoting legislative and administrative regulations, enabling cities to rid themselves of tobacco smoke and hopefully motivate other Russian cities to get involved in creation of more healthy environment.
Notes to the editor
Traditionally, the Organizing Committees of Winter Games actively support the non-smoking policy. Smoking has been an important issue for the IOC since 1988 when the Olympic Games became a strictly non-smoking event.
During the Winter Games in 2006, the Torino 2006 Organizing Committee, alongside the Italian Center of Decease Prevention distributed broadsheets with the slogan “I don’t smoke – I’m a winner” and information available 4 languages about the damage caused by smoking. As well as this, there was a lot of information in schools regarding the impact of smoking, and journalists were also given media kits on the issue.
The Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee, alongside the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, developed a large-scale anti-smoking campaign, which was implemented across the Olympic venues and in the public areas of British Columbia. The campaign included announcements about the harm of smoking during the competition, with relevant information on billboards and public transport and an online campaign featuring special banners and information.
In 1993 the IOC and the WHO signed their first partnership agreement which was further strengthened in 2010 by the signing of the memorandum of understanding in the field of popularizing of healthy lifestyles. One of the most important aspects of this collaboration was to host the next Olympic Games in accordance with its non-smoking policy.