Health experts are protesting sponsorship of the Orange Bowl by a cigar… (AP Photo / Anderson Independent-Mail…)
Amid the slew of college football bowl games over the next two weeks is a controversy over whether such games should be sponsored by tobacco companies.
Health groups are speaking out against Camacho Cigars' involvement at the 2012 Discovery Orange Bowl on Jan. 4 in Miami Gardens, Fla. The company will have cigar smoking lounges at the game and other fan-related events as part of its three-year sponsorship deal with the Orange Bowl Committee.
In a letter to the Orange Bowl Committee and the NCAA, leaders from 10 health organizations -- including Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Cancer Society -- bowl officials were asked to cancel the contract with the cigar company.
"Linking tobacco use to sports ... downplays the serious health risks of tobacco products," the letter states.
Cigarette and smokeless tobacco sponsors are banned from sports events under the 2009 law that turned over jurisdiction for regulating tobacco products to the Food and Drug Administration. But the FDA has not claimed jurisdiction of cigar products.
However, cigar smoking is the second most common form of tobacco use among youths after cigarette smoking. About 14% of high school students smoke cigars, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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