The World Health Organisation (WHO) in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in Qatar, has announced that smoking and marketing of all tobacco products will be banned across stadiums that would be used during the global sporting events.
WHO in a statement published on its website and a copy of which was shared with PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday said the steps are part of the measures aimed at ensuring the 2022 global football gathering serves as a beacon for health and safety.
It added that the decision aims at ensuring the gathering becomes a launchpad for sharing lessons with future mega sporting events.
The partnership between the Qatari government and WHO, which began in October 2021, is said to be supported by FIFA and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, as a measure to promote health globally through football.
The Qatari Minister of Public Health, Hanan Al Kuwari, said the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is a unique platform to promote health across the world and to communicate that sport and health go together.
Ms Al Kuwari said sport and health are intertwined, and together they play out in a celebration of joy, well-being, and solidarity for billions of people around the world.
“The partnership on Sport for Health has two main focus areas. First, the partnership is working to help make the 2022 tournament – the first of its kind held in the Middle East – healthy and safe. Second, the partnership will capture all that was learned to share with our partners and organisers of other mega athletic events to channel the power of sport to help improve global public health and security,” she said.
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She noted that by using the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to promote healthy lifestyles, people around the world can be inspired to play football and other sports.
She said the partners are committed to delivering campaigns to raise awareness of the benefits of physical activity on health, as well as promoting the importance of following a healthy lifestyle through the adoption of healthy food choices during major sporting events.
Ms Al kuwari noted that at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, smoke-free stadiums and bans on tobacco marketing are among key protections offered to protect people from this deadly product.
She said the benefits of these measures will help promote and protect the health of sports followers at future mega sporting events.
“Whether you are engaging in high-intensity workouts or even just simple regular activity, every effort counts towards a healthy body and a happy mind. To further promote healthy lives, we are underscoring the importance of nutrition by demonstrating the benefits of offering healthy food choices at mega sporting events,” She said.
In his remarks, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said the partnership strives to guide how to help improve the physical and mental health of all people globally through sports.
Mr Ghebreyesus said this will be done by focusing on physical activity, healthy diets and nutrition, tobacco control, mental health, and health security,
“The goals we have set our sights on are ambitious, so the foundation for our partnership must be solid and based upon three key pillars.
“These include health promotion through strategic collaboration with governments and sports stakeholders alike, reaching billions of people through football and other sports to promote healthy lives,” he said.
He said health security is also important and prioritises putting safety and security at the centre of all mega sporting events for the benefit of fans, players, and staff.
He noted that public health communications are critical to distil and amplify important information to the public to help them make healthy lifestyle choices.
“Lastly, keeping sporting events safe through a commitment to health security is a fundamental pillar of the healthy World Cup project.
“From ensuring implementation of mass gathering protocols outside and inside stadiums, to adhering to control measures to protect people from infectious disease outbreaks at mega sporting events, we are committed to working with partners to ensure all necessary steps are taken to make mega sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup, safe and secure,” he said.
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