Chelsea fans may be currently celebrating being top of the Premier League, but there is room for improvement off the pitch as they struggle to kick the habit and give smoking the red card. Today, as the latest standings in the Smokefree United League are announced, its revealed that only 77 Blues fans have signed for Smokefree United to quit smoking – leaving them trailing behind their Man U rivals who top the table with 274, more than treble the number of Chelsea fans pledging to quit.
Smokefree United is a virtual club of quitters that provides coaching and support to help football fans and players to stop smoking, www.nhs.uk/smokefreeunited. Launched in October by the NHS and supported by the Premier League and football legends Ian Wright, Gianfranco Zola, John Barnes and Andy Townsend, more than 1,500 fans have already signed up. In addition to quitting advice and entry into competitions to win money cant buy prizes, footballers and fans that sign up boost their teams position in the Smokefree United League.
Other winners in the Smokefree United League are Liverpool, who despite lagging six places behind Chelsea in the Premier League, have raced ahead in the quitting stakes and come in second with 182 quitters. Arsenal are in third with 138 fans followed by Tottenham and Chelsea who with 84 and 77 fans respectively are battling it out for the fourth spot.
talkSPORT host and former professional footballer Andy Townsend said:
Id encourage all football fans and players who have thought about quitting to sign for Smokefree United. Quitting Smoking will have a huge impact on your game and youll immediately become more competitive on the pitch because your cardiovascular fitness will improve.
Those whove signed for Smokefree United are there to motivate each other when the going gets tough, to celebrate the success of staying off the fags, and they can also count on supportive messages from Ian Wright!
JAYGFC, a Smokefree United quitter from Gillingham said:
I signed up to Smokefree United and am now in my 7th week of not smoking – I have started jogging and I feel great! I did one week with the patches and that was it. I am loving life again and didnt realise just how unfit I was!
According to new research conducted on behalf of the NHS, some football fans who smoke take the beautiful game more seriously than others with a huge 53 per cent of Liverpool fans saying they would give up smoking if their team was to win the double – more than for any other team.
Youre up to four times more likely to stop smoking successfully with NHS Support. For help quitting, visit the Smokefree United website at nhs.uk/smokefreeunited or call the NHS Stop Smoking Helpline on 0800 917 0492