COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Quit no-smoking drive highlights fitness role

Anti-smoking charity Quit has joined forces with doctors and a fitness instructor to the stars to design an exercise programme tailored for smokers determined to give up this New Year.

The charity launched the campaign after it commissioned research that found that 75 per cent of smokers who want to stop are motivated to do so by a decline in their fitness.

Quit's research also showed that nearly a third of female smokers are put off giving up by worry that they will gain weight.

The fitness programme, called Quit Fit, works with the parts of the body most affected by smoking - such as the heart, lungs and circulatory system - by improving cardiovascular fitness and breathing techniques.

"It's a common misconception that smokers don't care about their health," said Steve Crone, chief executive at Quit. "We know from our research that 64 per cent of smokers say an exercise programme designed specifically for them would inspire them to consider quitting."

Two-thirds of smokers try to break the habit every New Year and other anti-smoking charities are planning activity in early 2004 to encourage and support them to maintain their resolve.

No Smoking Day, which runs an annual public awareness anti-smoking day that falls this year on 10 March, has linked up with supermarket chain Asda to get its message out to more people in 2004.

It is the first time that the charity has sealed a partnership with a major company, and this year's campaign will focus on the day-to-day pitfalls of smoking such as bad breath and smelly clothes.

No Smoking Day will also station health professionals in Asda stores on 10 March so that shoppers can talk directly to someone about quitting effectively.

The British Heart Foundation and ASH are also launching major initiatives to raise public awareness of the dangers of smoking.

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