SMOKERS in Sheffield are being offered free leisure centre passes as reward for quitting cigarettes.
More than one in five adults in Sheffield – 21.5 per cent – smoke, despite public health campaigns.
The habit costs the city economy around £94 million a year in NHS treatment, smoking-related sick days and cigarette breaks, The Star revealed on Tuesday.
Claire Holden, who runs the Sheffield Quit Stop on Charles Street in the city centre, said around 70 per cent of smokers want to quit – but are much more likely to be successful with professional help.
Now, as an incentive, her centre is offering people who stub out the habit within four weeks a free one-month Sheffield International Venues leisure pass.
Passes to be used at swimming pools and gyms at Ponds Forge, Hillsborough, Corcord, EIS Sheffield and Don Valley Stadium will go to the first 80 people who set a quit date and successfully stop smoking in four weeks with support from a Quit Stop adviser.
The Quit Stop, which runs a free drop-in service for anyone to speak to a trained smoking adviser, will open until 5.30pm on Thursdays in January Usually the centre closes at 4.45pm during the week, with a 7pm late service on Wednesdays and a 9.30am to 12.30pm service on Saturday.
Ms Holden said: “People are four times more likely to stop smoking with the help of their local NHS stop smoking service, which can provide motivation and help to get on the right track.
“We hope the flexible opening hours of our Quit Stop will make it even easier for people to stop smoking this year.”
n Call Sheffield Stop Smoking Service helpline free on 0800 068 4490, log on to www.sheffieldstopsmoking.org.uk or call into the Quit Stop on Charles Street.