Monday, December 26, 2011

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Exempts Cigars from Sports Sponsorship Ban, Then Complains that Cigar Company is Sponsoring Orange Bowl; More Hypocrisy

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has joined Senator Dick Durbin in condemning the Orange Bowl for accepting sponsorship from a cigar company and urging the NCAA to prohibit such sponsorship. In a letter to the Orange Bowl and the NCAA, the Campaign writes: "As public health groups that combat the use of tobacco and its devastating toll on American families every day, we urge the Orange Bowl Committee and the NCAA to cancel a cigar company sponsorship of the Discover Orange Bowl. Tobacco has no place in sports, and the promotion of cigars at such a prestigious sporting event entices youth and young adults, putting them at risk of developing a deadly addiction."

The Rest of the Story

If it is the case that tobacco has no place in sports and promotion of cigars at sporting events entices youths to smoke, then why didn't the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids make sure to include a ban on cigar company sponsorship of sporting events when it helped craft the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act?

As the leading health group at the negotiating table with Philip Morris when this legislation was crafted, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids could easily have demanded that the exemption of cigars from the sports sponsorship ban be eliminated. It would have taken just one additional sentence in the legislation to include cigars in the sports sponsorship ban. But the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids failed to act.

Instead of turning all of our criticism to the Orange Bowl and the NCAA, perhaps the public should direct its primary criticism at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for creating the loophole in the law which allowed this cigar sponsorship to take place in the first place.

Does it not seem mildly hypocritical for the Campaign to complain about the cigar sponsorship when it is responsible for allowing this sponsorship in the first place?

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids now joins Senator Durbin as co-recipients of the Hypocrisy of the Year Award for 2011.

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