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Firefighters Partner With UK Government To Promote Exercise and Smoking Cessation

Firefighters Partner With UK Government To Promote Exercise and Smoking Cessation


Quitting combustible cigarettes can be one of the most difficult addictions to make a break from. In some parts of the world, outside the United States, government agencies are setting up initiatives to help local groups combat the effects of smoking at the community level, and vaping is being used as a prominent tool in the battle against smoking-related disease.

In the United Kingdom, the fight against smoking combustible cigarettes has taken on a regional and grassroots effort, with the support of the country’s pro-vaping government health agency and local firefighters, who have set up a program that helps smokers commit to quitting and get in shape.

One example of this innovative program can be found in Basingstoke, England, where smokers can sign up for free ten-week Quit and Get Fit courses that include a weekly exercise class run by the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS). The HFRS has partnered with both the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and the National Health Service-run Quit4Life.

The latest program starts on March 21, but it's far from the only one offered in the United Kingdom. Similar motivation events have been set up and endorsed by Quit4Life in Eastleigh, Havant, and Rushmoor. These are group projects that have an entire community of volunteers get together and support each other as they go through the difficult process of quitting cigarettes.

Norma Jane Beckwith, a specialist adviser at Quit4Life who helped run previous sessions, said that working with others in a group helped establish a community of support that is necessary when committing to a healthier lifestyle.   

“We started with a group of strangers, all quite different from one another, and ended with a group of buddies who had all been cheering each other on,” Beckwith said. “We had lots of laughs with the fire crew and kit. I could not have been more proud of every individual in the group who took it upon themselves to put their health first and commit to the group.”

At the end of the ten-week trial, she said that everyone who made the effort, came out and participated, and had fun with the firefighters were all “fitter, healthier, and smoke-free.”

The big draw to these events is the partnership between the fire and rescue service and Quit4Life, who offer new vaping vouchers to those who would like to stop smoking by using an e-cigarette alongside traditional medications and nicotine replacement therapy.

HFRS station commander in Havant, David Hodge, said: “The fire and rescue service is excited to be able to work with Quit4Life and the council in this new and innovative approach to helping people to quit smoking and increasing their fitness levels.”

“We have always had a goal to make Hampshire safer; however we are now working with partners to make Hampshire healthier.”