Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning Encourage Fans To Be Tobacco Free During March 6 Game Vs. St. Louis

Thursday, 02.26.2009 / 4:09 PM / Bolts Report
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Lightning Encourage Fans To Be Tobacco Free During March 6 Game Vs. St. Louis
TAMPA BAY - As part of the upcoming “Tobacco Free Florida Week” statewide campaign, the Tampa Bay Lightning will blanket the in-arena game night and television presentations of their game on Friday, March 6 vs. the St. Louis Blues to include messaging designed to promote smoke-free living while reminding tobacco users of programs that are available to help them quit. The game is presented by Tobacco Free Florida. A unique aspect of the game will be Tobacco Free Florida skeletons riding the Zamboni and in the Kane’s Entertainment Center.

Governor Charlie 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.

“The Lightning are proud to have partnered with Tobacco Free Florida in this outstanding week of educating and urging Florida sports fans to be tobacco free,“ Lightning Owner and Governor Oren Koules said. “Choosing to be tobacco free is the best way to stop one of the most preventable causes of death in the United States. We hope our fans will take advantage of the information being provided and help us in building a tobacco free Florida.”

On March 6, the Lightning will incorporate several creative Tobacco Free Florida messaging platforms into their game presentation in-arena, on Sun Sports and on Lightning radio. Radio and television spots will feature Tampa Bay Head Coach Rick Tocchet and center Jeff Halpern. The “skeleton fans” on the Zambonis and in the Kane’s Entertainment Center will also show the message “we lose too many Lightning fans each year to tobacco use.” In addition, Tampa Bay players and personnel have taped Tobacco Free Florida Week messages that will be seen on Sun Sports’ telecast that night as well as on LightningVision in the arena.

With the goal of getting as many as possible to pledge to be tobacco free that night, fans in the arena will be encouraged to stop by the Tobacco Free Florida table display on the concourse behind section 112 to make their pledge. The first 10,000 fans to enter the St. Pete Times Forum will receive a Jeff Halpern action photo magnet courtesy of Tobacco Free Florida. All Times Forum and Lightning employees who are tobacco free will wear special lapel pins.

The Tobacco Free Florida Street Team and Smokifier vans will be on-site that night outside the St. Pete Times Forum. Smokifier vans are an educational tool Tobacco Free Florida uses to demonstrate the negative effects of smoking. They are traveling around the state during the week to spread the message and host school rallies featuring athletes from Florida’s pro teams. The Lightning will also host a Tobacco Free Florida school rally on March 5 at 2 p.m. at Academy Preparatory School in Tampa.

In partnership with FOX Sports Florida and Sun Sports, pro and college teams across 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. To view Jeff Halpern’s PSA video visit: http://sunsportstv.com/client/TFF_WEEK_IDs/TFFWeek-TBL-Halpern2-Final.wmv