This unique health promotion will take place throughout high school baseball season and will honor players who have taken the pledge not to use smokeless tobacco products, such as “spit” or “chew” tobacco. The campaign, which starts this week, coincides with the beginning of baseball season.
“One of the goals of tobacco prevention and cessation and Get Healthy Kentucky is to increase awareness of the dangers of smokeless tobacco among high school males,” said Irene Centers, program manager for the state's tobacco prevention and cessation program. “It is important that young people understand smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking and has no place in youth sports.”
Although the use of tobacco on school grounds is against the rules, many high school coaches do nothing to stop players from using tobacco in the dugout and on the playing field.
According to the Kentucky Youth Tobacco Survey 2006, 23 percent of high school males have used some form of smokeless tobacco in the past 30 days. This latest data represents a two percentage-point decrease from 2004.
“While we're encouraged that smokeless tobacco use has dropped in recent years, too many young people, particularly young men, continue to use these dangerous products,” said Centers.
Each week, TSF Radio Network, which delivers customized, local sports reports, will air the spots announcing the “No Spit” All-Stars with 33 Kentucky affiliates. Nominations will be gathered from high school baseball coaches and fans from across Kentucky, who will then have the opportunity to vote for the weekly winner at www.TheSportsFlash.com.
Each weekly winner will receive a T-shirt as a “No Spit” All-Star and will be eligible to win the annual award as the “No Spit” All-Star of the Year.
“Get Healthy Kentucky is thrilled to be a part of this campaign,” said GHK Executive Director Chris L. Corbin. “Young people who are making good decisions about their health should be commended for their choices. Not only are they doing the necessary things to preserve their health for years to come, but they're also serving as role models for their peers.”
Governor Ernie Fletcher designed GHK as a statewide, comprehensive wellness initiative to improve the health status of the commonwealth through increased physical activity, good nutrition and tobacco prevention and cessation. Members of the program have access to reliable, unbiased information about physical activity, nutrition and tobacco cessation information at the GHK Web site, www.gethealthy.ky.gov.
For more information about the Kentucky “No Spit” All-Star campaign, contact TSF Radio Network's Mike Sinnott at (517) 927-4570; or Jan Beauchamp in the Governor's Office of Wellness and Physical Activity at (502) 564-7996, ext. 3817.