DAYTONA, Fla. – Teens from across Northeast Florida came together today to recognize Daytona International Speedway for its bold move to make the speedway’s grandstands smoke-free. The teens from 21 surrounding counties are part of Students Working against Tobacco (SWAT). They also challenged other sporting and entertainment venues in the state to follow the example set by the speedway and protect more Floridians and visitors from secondhand smoke.
The SWAT members, along with NASCAR driver Jeffrey Earnhardt, the Volusia County Health Department, and representatives from Daytona International Speedway held a press conference outside of the Gate 8 Grandstand Entrance of the speedway on Tuesday, June 19 at 2 p.m.
“I’m proud that leading race organizations like Daytona are protecting our fans from tobacco smoke and are showing young fans that smoking is no longer acceptable,” said NASCAR driver and Tobacco Free Florida spokesperson Jeffrey Earnhardt. “Families see drivers and venues like Daytona as legendary and this sends a healthy message to race fans.”
The grandstands of Florida’s prestigious and historic sporting venue will officially be smoke-free starting with the Subway Jalapeño 250 Powered By Coca-Cola on Friday night, July 6.
Secondhand smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals, hundreds of which are toxic and 69 that can cause cancer.Each year, nearly 50,000 non-smoking Americans die from a disease primarily caused from exposure to secondhand smoke.
Secondhand smoke is especially harmful to children and adults who suffer from asthma as it can trigger a severe attack. In Florida, 1.47 million children and adults are diagnosed with asthma.
Aside from protecting race fans and speedway employees from the dangers of secondhand smoke, the smoking ban at the Daytona International Speedway is a monumental step against tobacco in the sport of racing. Stock car racing has a long and storied history with tobacco that includes years of sponsorships and the highly visible use of tobacco by drivers, their racing teams and fans alike.