Feb. 27, 2009
As part of the “Tobacco Free Florida Week” statewide campaign, the nationally ranked Florida State men’s basketball team will promote the message of tobacco-free living by helping Governor Charlie Crist remind tobacco users of programs and support that are available to help them quit.
Crist has proclaimed February 27 through March 7 as Tobacco Free Florida Week. Floridians are encouraged to take the pledge to be tobacco free on tobaccofreefloridaweek.com.
“Smoking and the use of any type of tobacco products is something I have never had as a part of my daily life,” said ACC Player of the Year candidate Toney Douglas. “The use of tobacco products doesn’t allow you to maximize your potential as an athlete or a person who wants to live a happy and healthy life. Every player and coach on our team supports the Tobacco Free Florida program and supports all of our fans who choose to lead a tobacco free life.”
Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton also actively supports the governor’s initiative.
“The Florida State men’s basketball team fully supports the efforts of Governor Crist and the Tobacco Free Initiative,” said Hamilton. “I would never advocate the use of tobacco products by any of our players because it is harmful to their health and would not allow them to play to their potential as basketball players. It is my hope and desire that our fans and all of the people in the state of Florida choose to be tobacco free.”
The Department of Athletics at Florida State and the men’s basketball team will help promote the message of tobacco-free living during the free “Party on the Plaza” at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee prior to Saturday’s men’s basketball game against Clemson that will tip-off at 2:00 p.m.
Fans can purchase a photo of themselves with a life-size cut-out of Seminole center Solomon Alabi and that’s just one of the festivities that will be available at the pre-game party scheduled from 11:00-12:45. The Seminole Sound, FSU cheerleaders and Golden Girls will appear, inflatable games for the kids, and four temporary basketball courts will be set up on the plaza for games with giveaways scheduled throughout the party. The basketball team will walk from the basketball training center through the Party on the Plaza and into the Tucker Center beginning at 12:15 and fans are encouraged to form a tunnel and cheer the team on their walk into the facility. The Tucker Center will also have food and drinks available for purchase throughout the event.
“Tobacco and the use of tobacco products doesn’t interest me and never has,” said Alabi. “For me or any of my teammates to use tobacco products would not allow us to reach our goals or play to our potential. I hope all of the students at Florida State University and all of our fans choose to lead a tobacco free life.”
Tobacco Free Florida’s Smokifier Van will be parked on the plaza and eight sports teams within the state of Florida are supporting Tobacco Free Florida all this week. Displays at the entrances to the Tucker Center will raise awareness of the cause and Seminole basketball players Alabi and Douglas as team spokesmen for the campaign.
The Tucker Center doors will open at 1:00 p.m. and FSU fans are drawing together to wear white to the game to show support for the team and the Tobacco Free Florida initiative. A sell out is expected with FSU’s game against Virginia Tech on March 8 the only other home game left in the season so get your tickets early at Seminoles.com.
For more information on the Party on the Plaza contact FSU Athletics Marketing at 644-2550. In the event of threatening weather check FSU’s official website seminoles.com and/or call 645-GAME for information.
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 (2/27 on FOX Sports Florida), Florida State University men’s basketball (2/28), Florida Marlins (3/1), Miami HEAT (3/2 on Sun Sports), Tampa Bay Rays (3/3), Florida Panthers (3/5 on FOX Sports Florida), Tampa Bay Lightning (3/6 on Sun Sports) and University of Florida men’s basketball (3/7).
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.
To access the pledge, visit www.tobaccofreefloridaweek.com.