Sport Kick Start for Anti Smoking Push

Roy Keane may not be his biggest fan but he would doubtless support a campaign launched yesterday where Everton Manager Ronald Koeman was the front for Pfizer’s Kick It with Help – a campaign that harnesses the widespread appeal of football to urge smokers to seek expert help when quitting smoking.

It is the latest in a series of physical and mental health initiatives using sport as a powerful medium to reach target groups within society via a message that is familiar and appealing.

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Working with Ronald Koeman and football trick experts the F2 Freestylers, Kick It with Help emphasises the parallels between football and quitting smoking – both of which require motivation and an expert coach and support team for the best chance of achieving success – to inspire smokers to seek help from a healthcare professional to quit.

Kick It with Help has launched with an online video which shows how the F2 Freestylers improve their free kicks with expert help and coaching from free-kick specialist Ronald Koeman.

“No one who has achieved success in the world of football has done so without the help of professionals along the way,” said Koeman.

“Throughout my career as a player and a manager, I know the importance a good coach makes. I am dedicated to coaching my players to ensure they reach their goals and achieve success they deserve.”

“This is also true for those trying to quit smoking and who are stuck in a cycle of quit attempts. By enlisting the help of your healthcare professional you can give yourself the best chance of quitting smoking.”

“Quitting smoking is one of the best things any smoker can do to look after their health,” said Paul Reid, Managing Director, Pfizer Healthcare Ireland.

“We know that motivated quitters have the best chance of stopping when they have help from a healthcare professional, yet too many struggle alone and fall into a cycle of quitting and relapsing.”

“Kick It with Help has an important message that assistance is available for people who want to quit, and I hope it inspires many smokers to seek support from their healthcare professional to quit.”

Smoking remains a major public health challenge, causing almost 6 million deaths worldwide each year, and Europe has the highest prevalence of tobacco smoking among adults (28%) versus other World Health Organization (WHO) regions.

Around 70% of smokers say they want to stop smoking, but most believe they are unable to. However, around half of all smokers eventually manage to give up.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. In Ireland, it is estimated that 5,200 people die annually from smoking related diseases.

Irish death rates from smoking related diseases remain 9% higher than the European average. Smoking causes half of all long-term smokers to die prematurely from smoking-related diseases and is a major cause of morbidity, with smokers on average losing at least 10 quality years of life.

Kick It with Help was developed by Pfizer who are committed to supporting motivated smokers to achieve the best chance of quitting smoking – with healthcare professional support and guidance.

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