The starting pistol sounded a month ago on our campaign to make next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow free from tobacco.
Now we’re sprinting ahead in our race to stub out smoking at Scotland’s largest ever sporting and cultural event.
Last week, to coincide with World No Tobacco Day on Friday, we challenged the Games organising committee by sending them a letter calling on them to ensure our goal is achieved.
It was signed by 40 health organisations in 16 Commonwealth countries. The outpouring of international support has come from the rest of the UK and other Commonwealth nations such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India and from across Africa.
We also put out a press release highlighting this backing, with a hard-hitting message from representatives of the last Games in Delhi.
The Indian organisers made their event in 2010 completely tobacco-free and say it would be a regressive move if Glasgow didn’t follow their example.
On top of that, we have now gained the welcome support of Glasgow’s health chiefs.
Dr Linda de Caestecker, Director of Public Health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, has given the campaign a great boost by telling us: “We absolutely support the aspiration to make the 2014 Commonwealth Games smoke-free.”
And that’s not all!
Other countries which aren’t even in the Commonwealth are so impressed with our call that they have added their names to our letter to the Games organisers.
They include the USA, Hong Kong, Burkina Faso, Argentina and Syria.
With a decision from the organisers about the Games tobacco policy believed to be imminent, we are hammering home the message that there should not be any smoking areas at venues.
It would be very disappointing if Glasgow’s Games did not live up to the standard set by the 2010 Games in Delhi.
Remember, it’s not about making smokers unwelcome.
To underline that message, the health board hopes to offer stop-smoking support to spectators and those who work at the Games.
We believe an event celebrating healthy achievement and providing positive role models for our young people should create smoke-free environments for children and support people not to smoke, rather than providing facilities for them to do so.
You can lobby the Games organisers to make the event free by sending a message from www.ashscotland.org.uk/commonwealthgames