Regional Tobacco Free Rodeo Project
In 2007, the Southern Nevada Health District accepted a grant award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in collaboration with the Washoe County District Health Department and the Public Health Institute in California, for a Regional Tobacco Free Rodeo Project (RTFRP) to address smokeless tobacco industry sponsorship of local rodeos.
Four states were selected to be a part of the regional project: California, Idaho, Nevada and New Mexico.
Nevada was among the four states chosen because of its increasing rate of spit tobacco use among youth, its role as host to many premier rodeos, such as the PRCA National Finals Rodeo and the PBR World Finals, and its strong record of successful tobacco policy change, including the establishment of the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act.
In all four participating states and across the country, there are two major challenges in the efforts to restrict tobacco sponsorship at rodeos:
First, the public perception that tobacco is critical to rodeo’s survival. However, the National Tobacco Free Rodeo Project (NTFRP) and Buck Tobacco, two national campaigns, have succeeded in combating that perception by using the example of NASCAR replacing the Winston Cup and several rodeos’ success after passing policies that restrict tobacco marketing.
Second, corporate sponsorship (rather than brand sponsorship) is not sufficiently regulated by the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), Smokeless Tobacco MSA (STMSA), or federal or state law. Therefore, the United States Smokeless Tobacco Company USSTC uses its corporate name to sponsor rodeos. NTFRP and Buck Tobacco work at the local, state and national levels to restrict tobacco sponsorship of rodeos by creating community pressure on rodeo organizers to adopt voluntary policies to close the corporate sponsorship loophole, and assisting local advocates to work with their state attorneys general to enforce the STMSA’s marketing restrictions at rodeos.
Nevada’s goal was to establish policies to restrict outdoor advertising at the Clark County Fair & Rodeo and the Reno Rodeo in 2007. The Southern Nevada Health District and the Washoe County District Health Department worked with the local rodeo boards and organizers to promote voluntary policy change to protect rodeo attendees and participants from the influence of the smokeless tobacco industry.