Free steps to fitness for Devon quitters

Posted on: 28 February 2013

Smokers in Devon are being encouraged to ‘swap fags for swag’, and consider the financial benefits of quitting, on the 30th anniversary of No Smoking Day on Wednesday 13 March.

Nearly one in six adults in the UK smoke,including 18 per cent in Devon. But figures show two thirds of them want to quit.

In Devon, smokers are being encouraged to take this a step further and spend their new found cash on a new healthy habit – getting active.

And to encourage them, leisure centres across Devon will be offering special promotions to help smokers ditch the cigarettes for good and get into exercise.

People who book their first appointment with the Devon’s NHS stop smoking service during March will get a free ‘Smokefree exercise voucher’, which they will be able to exchange for a range of offers at their local leisure centre.

Participating leisure centres include:

  • Clifton Hill Sports Centre – 2 Day Expressions Pass
  • Exeter Arena – 2 Day Expressions Pass
  • The Isca Centre – 2 free beginner adult bowls sessions
  • Northbrook Swimming Pool – 2 Day Expressions Pass
  • Pyramids Swimming and Leisure Centre – 2 Day Expressions Pass
  • Riverside Leisure Centre – 2 Day Expressions Pass
  • Wonford Sports Centre – 2 Day Expressions Pass
  • North Devon Leisure Centre – 2 Day Expressions Pass
  • Ivybridge Leisure Centre – 3 day pass
  • Dartmouth Leisure Centre – 3 day pass
  • Quayside Leisure Centre – 3 day pass
  • Newton Abbot Leisure Centre – 6 free swims/classes
  • Broadmeadow Sports Centre – 6 free classes
  • Dawlish Leisure Centre – 6 free swims/classes
  • Parklands, Okehampton – 3 day gym/swim
  • Meadowlands, Tavistock – 3 day swim
  • Culm Valley Sports Centre – three day pass for swimming and selected classes
  • Exe Valley Leisure Centre – three day pass for swimming and selected classes
  • Lords meadow Leisure Centre – three day pass for swimming and selected classes

No Smoking Day 2013 officially launches on Wednesday 27 February giving smokers two weeks to get ready to quit on No Smoking Day itself, Wednesday 13 March.

Dr Virginia Pearson, director of public health for the NHS in Devon, urged smokers to take advantage of free NHS support this No Smoking Day.

“We know that people are four times more likely to stop smoking if they use NHS support,” she said.

Professor Adrian Taylor, professor of exercise and health psychology at the University of Exeter, has studied the effects of exercise on people trying to quit smoking.

“Evidence shows that a short single session of even brisk walking reduces cravings by about 30% among temporarily abstinent smokers,” he said.

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said:  “No Smoking Day provides the perfect opportunity for people to join hundreds of others in Devon attempting to quit on the same day.

 “This is why Devon’s efforts in spreading the word about the support available are so important, to help many make their first steps towards a healthier and wealthier, smoke free life.”

Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust runs a stop smoking service that covers the whole of Devon. It offers practical support and guidance on the best methods for each individual to quit smoking and over 70 per cent of people are successful in quitting.

Sessions are held in local health centres, GP surgeries, pharmacies, leisure centres and village halls. For a full list of venues, or to sign-up, email or call 01884 836 024.

The annual No Smoking Day health campaign, run by the British Heart Foundation, is now in its 30th year. It helped more than 760,000 people quit smoking last year and inspired another 1.5 million to seek out information to help them quit in future.

For more information on the benefits of quitting as well as top quit tips, visit

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