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Make World Cup smoke-free, health groups urge

Written by: Staff

FRANKFURT, Mar 31 (Reuters) An alliance of health groups urged World Cup organisers today to ban smoking at the 12 stadiums to be used during the June 9-July 9 tournament.

The UICC Global Smokefree Partnership, a grouping including Cancer Research UK and the American Cancer Society, made the plea at a conference in Nuremberg, one of the World Cup's host cities.

''Tobacco and sports don't mix,'' said Professor Gerhard Sybrecht, deputy chairman of the German Lung Foundation.

''That should also hold true for Germany, yet images of smoking will be exported into billions of homes and on to countless big screens around the globe.'' Smoking was banned in stadiums at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan and will be again in South Africa in 2010. Germany has decided not to introduce a similar rule, although smoking will be discouraged.

''We will have publicity in the stadiums urging people not to smoke,'' a spokesman for the local organising committee said today.

''Our position is obviously that we would prefer people not to smoke but smoking in Germany is not banned in restaurants or other public places, unlike in some other countries.'' Reuters DH DB1824

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