The NHS' Smokefree United scheme has shown early signs of success with more than 1,500 fans signing up for the scheme, launched in October by the NHS and covering all league clubs and so far a familiar side top the table (see below).
Smokefree United is a virtual club of quitters – supported by John Barnes, Ian Wright, Gianfranco Zola, Andy Townsend, talkSPORT and the Premier League – that provides coaching and support to help football fans and players to stop smoking. Fans are said to be four times more likely to kick the habit with support.
On signing up quitters will receive regular weekly contact over a four week period via supportive emails and texts, entry into competitions to win money-can't-buy prizes, and the chance to send the club you support to the top of the Smokefree League.
Former footballer and media commentator Andy Townsend hosts a chatline on the Smokefree United website.
He said: "I'd encourage all football fans and players who have thought about quitting to sign up for Smokefree United.
"Quitting smoking will have a huge impact on your game and you'll immediately become more competitive on the pitch because your cardiovascular fitness will improve."
Martin Dockrell, research director for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), welcomed the news about the number of committed football fan quitters: "Combining quitting and football means fans could be in with a chance to do the treble this season.
"Give up smoking and it will improve your fitness levels and stamina almost overnight, while getting more exercise will boost your morale and improve your chances of quitting for good.
"And if you're worried that quitting will mean you put on weight, a little extra training will help you avoid chants of 'who ate all the pies'."
For more information on Smokefree United go to http://smokefree.nhs.uk.
Number of quitters