HEAT & Sun Sports Encourage Fans to Be Tobacco Free During Raptors vs. HEAT Game

Enter The “Be Free For Me” Sweepstakes For A Chance To Win 2010-11 HEAT Season Tickets 

MIAMI, 3/25 – As part of “Tobacco Free Florida Week,” the Miami HEAT will blanket its in-arena game night and television presentations of its March 28 game vs. the Toronto Raptors to include messaging designed to promote tobacco-free living while reminding tobacco users of programs and support that are available to help them quit.  

Governor Charlie Crist has proclaimed March 21-28 as Tobacco Free Florida Week to promote the Florida Quitline and local cessation services while raising awareness of the impact of secondhand smoke among at-risk populations. During the week, Floridians will be encouraged to recommend friends and loved ones to contact the Florida Quitline for help in overcoming their addition.    

“We’re very proud to join the State of Florida and our broadcasting partners at Sun Sports in support of such an important campaign as Tobacco Free Florida Week,” said Eric Woolworth, President of HEAT Group Business Operations. “As a sports franchise, the HEAT organization values health and fitness so it’s only natural for us to help lead the charge of encouraging a tobacco-free lifestyle.”  

During Sunday’s game, the HEAT will incorporate Tobacco Free Florida messaging platforms into their game presentation both in-arena and on Sun Sports, the HEAT broadcast partner. In addition to the in-arena festivities, HEAT forward James Jones, along with the HEAT Dancers, Burnie, PA Announcer Michael Baiamonte, DJ MDot, and the Tobacco Free Florida Street Team, helped spread the “be free” message by hosting a pep rally at Ponce de Leon Middle School last Friday. 

HEAT fans can also enter to win 2010-11 season tickets by referring a loved one to the Florida Quitline in the “Be Free for Me” Sweepstakes. Visit http://www.heatsweeps.com/BeFreeForMe to enter. Sweepstakes ends March 28, 2010. 

“Tobacco Free Florida Week is a statewide call to action that is essential in spreading the word about the dangers of secondhand smoke,” said Kim Berfield, Deputy Secretary of the Florida Department of Health. “By targeting collegiate and professional sporting events, the ‘Be Free for Me’ message will be highly visible and will attract those looking to quit or friends and family of loved ones to be referred to the services of the Florida Quitline.”

In partnership with FOX Sports Florida and Sun Sports, pro and college teams around the state are rallying behind the campaign. Throughout the week, Tobacco Free Florida will be the focal point of six sporting events including: University of Florida Baseball vs. Mississippi State (March 21 on Fox Sports Florida), Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Carolina Hurricanes (March 23 on Sun Sports), Orlando Magic vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (March 26 on Sun Sports), and Florida State University Baseball vs. Maryland (March 27 on Fox Sports Florida). 

According to the CDC, secondhand smoke is estimated to cause 50,000 deaths per year and contains more than 250 toxic chemicals including 50 that can lead to cancer.  There is no safe level of secondhand smoke.  Protect yourself and those around you.  Refer a friend or family member to the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW or online at www.floridaquitline.com

About Tobacco Free Florida

Tobacco Free Florida, the statewide youth prevention and adult cessation campaign launched in February 2008, has reached millions of Floridians through its advertising, online social media, grassroots initiatives, educational outreach and public relations efforts. Funded by the State’s tobacco settlement fund, the campaign engages culturally and economically diverse audiences with its high impact messaging. 

For more information about Tobacco Free Florida, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com

The Miami HEAT is proud to welcome Assist-Card as the Presenting Sponsor for the 2009-10 season.