Brussels (FCB).- The European Commission (EC) and FC Barcelona announced this Tuesday in Brussels an unprecedented partnership. ‘Quit Smoking with Barça’ will harness the success of the European Commission’s “Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable” campaign and the support of Barça’s millions of fans to help 28 million European smokers kick the habit forever.
Partnering one of the world’s most prestigious sports clubs and a European institution is an ambitious project never before tried on such a scale. ‘Quit Smoking with Barça’ is the latest and most audacious initiative of the award-winning “Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable” campaign. This is the first time that the European Commission has collaborated with a sporting partner that reaches the hearts of millions of people. The programme aims not to judge smokers, but instead underlines the many benefits of quitting smoking. ‘Quit Smoking with Barça’ offers supporters of FC Barcelona, football and sport in general, a personalised health training programme with daily quit smoking tips and direct encouragement from the hearts and mouths of the club itself.
The campaign will be powered by iCoach (www.exsmokers.eu), a free, proven digital health tool already helping almost a quarter of a million people across Europe (equivalent to 1 in every 500 smokers) in their quest to give up smoking for good. iCoach is available from today as an app for both for iPhone and Android (www.exsmokers.eu/mobile).
“Through this collaboration we will seek to help football supporters across Europe to take back control of their health and their lives, encouraging them to be as passionate about their health as they are about the “beautiful game”,” said FC Barcelona President, Sandro Rosell speaking at the launch announcement at the European Commission Headquarters in Brussels.
Rosell continued, “We feel proud to be here today and to work side by side with the European Commission to improve the health of our supporters and all fans of football. At Barça we firmly believe in our slogan ‘more than a club’ and we promote values of respect, health and social commitment. Our fans and members have given us their unconditional support and dedication for 113 years, and it is our duty to look after their most important asset of all - their health. Barça understands how important teamwork is in overcoming challenges, so through the ‘Quit Smoking with Barça’ campaign we are going to be their teammate in helping them win their battle against cigarettes. We will offer them guidance, encouragement and practical help. I’m calling on all smokers to join this campaign.”
Speaking about the new alliance, John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumers said “I am delighted to work together with FC Barcelona to help Europeans keep away from smoking. The European Commission has a solid track record in raising awareness about smoking and in delivering successful tobacco control measures across the EU. Our "Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable" campaign is helping hundreds of thousands of men and women on their journey towards a smoke-free life, and this collaboration should help amplify our message. Using the universal language of football, we can support more Europeans in their efforts to quit smoking and becoming unstoppable ex-smokers for life.”
Dr. Jordi Monés, the director responsible for Barça’s medical area, and pioneer of the club’s previous smoking cessation initiative, 'Barça Sense Fum' (Smoke-Free Barça), which saw a smoking ban across all FC Barcelona’s facilities stated “Barça feels very proud to collaborate with an institution like the European Commission. We wanted to join forces with the biggest public body in Europe to convince people to take the first step towards smoke-free living. Just as our fans support and cheer us to victory, through ‘Quit Smoking with Barça’ we will now support them through their toughest challenge -to quit smoking for good.”