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Governor Crist Proclaims Tobacco Free Florida Week Beginning February 27
Date:2/18/2009

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Governor Charlie Crist has proclaimed February 27 through March 7 as Tobacco Free Florida Week to promote smoke-free living while reminding tobacco users of programs and support that are available to help them quit. During Tobacco Free Florida Week, Floridians are encouraged to take the pledge to be tobacco free on www.tobaccofreefloridaweek.com.

In partnership with FOX Sports Florida and Sun Sports, pro and college teams around the state are rallying behind the campaign. Throughout the week, Tobacco Free Florida will be the focal point of eight sporting events for the following teams: Orlando Magic, Florida State University men's basketball, Florida Marlins, Miami HEAT, Tampa Bay Rays, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and University of Florida men's basketball (see game schedule below). Total attendance at the eight events is projected to top 100,000 with the televised games reaching millions more across the state on Sun Sports and FOX Sports Florida.

"Tobacco Free Florida Week presents a tremendous platform for us to utilize our unique media assets, along with those of our sports team partners across the state, in a concentrated, highly-visible way and encourage Floridians to pledge to be tobacco free," said Steve Liverani, Sr. VP/GM of FOX Sports Florida & Sun Sports. "The consequences of tobacco use are well- documented and we are proud to be part of this call to action pledge campaign."

During the week, the Tobacco Free Florida Street Team and Smokifier vans will travel around the state to spread the message and host school rallies featuring athletes from Florida's pro teams.

"Tobacco Free Florida Week is an opportunity to unite Floridians against the leading cause of preventable illness, disability and premature death in Florida," says Kim Berfield, Deputy Secretary of the Florida Department of Health. "By combining efforts of professional and collegiate teams, local County Health Departments and other key tobacco prevention stakeholders, we can further extend the reach of the campaign's message."

To counter the advertising efforts of tobacco companies that spend more money on advertising in Florida than in any other state, Tobacco Free Florida's statewide youth prevention advertising campaign will also launch that week, with television, radio, cinema and print ads across the state, encouraging youth to "Be Free" from tobacco.

Smoking is responsible for upwards of 29,000 deaths in Florida each year, and thousands more suffer from cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases related to tobacco use and second-hand smoke. Nearly one out of every five adults smokes, and 28.8 million packs of cigarettes are bought or smoked by youth in Florida each year.

For more information about local events and to access the pledge, visit www.tobaccofreefloridaweek.com.


    TOBACCO FREE FLORIDA WEEK PROFESSIONAL AND COLLEGIATE SPORTING EVENTS

                 Orlando Magic vs. Detroit Pistons* (2.27.09)
       Florida State University Men's Basketball vs. Clemson (2.28.09)
              Florida Marlins vs. St. Louis Cardinals (3.01.09)
                Miami HEAT vs. Cleveland Cavaliers** (3.02.09)
                     Tampa Bay Rays vs. Astros (3.03.09)
             Florida Panthers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins* (3.05.09)
             Tampa Bay Lightning vs. St. Louis Blues** (3.06.09)
 University of Florida Men's Basketball vs. University of Kentucky (3.07.09)
    *  Televised on FOX Sports Florida
    ** Televised on Sun Sports

ABOUT TOBACCO FREE FLORIDA

Tobacco Free Florida, the statewide youth prevention and adult cessation campaign, launched in February 2008. The Campaign has reached millions of Floridians through its advertising, online social media, grassroots initiatives, educational outreach and public relations efforts. Funded by Florida's tobacco settlement fund, the campaign engages culturally and economically diverse audiences with its high impact messaging.

For more information on Tobacco Free Florida, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com.


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SOURCE Tobacco Free Florida
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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