Celebrities unite to support Europe’s first ‘Day of the ex-smoker’

The day of celebration is to congratulate all ex-smokers, whether they are amongst the 400,000 who have signed up to kick the habit with the European Commission’s “Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable” campaign, or have quit using other means

26th September, 2013, Brussels - Superstar DJ, Bob Sinclar and grand slam tennis champion, Victoria Azarenka lead a list of celebrities joining forces with the European Commission to celebrate the inaugural Day of the Ex-Smoker.

Today, events are taking place in all EU countries to mark the first ever Day of the Ex-Smoker, an initiative of the "Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable" campaign, and the first health awareness day to celebrate the achievements of ex-smokers everywhere. By making role models of all ex-smokers, including the 400,000 people who have signed up to quit smoking with free online tool, iCoach, it is hoped that thousands more will be inspired to kick the habit.

Sinclar and Azarenka join a host of other celebrities from around Europe to applaud those who have won one of life's toughest battles - quitting smoking. The European Lung Foundation (www.europeanlung.org), Education for Health, (www.educationforhealth.org) and other health organisations, charities and leading employers are also joining in the celebrations. It is hoped that the Day of the Ex-Smoker will show those still struggling with tobacco, that the life of the ex-smoker is something worth striving for.

Speaking at a public event, at Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels; European Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg said: "Congratulations to all ex-smokers! Ex-smokers are heroes for fighting and winning against addiction to cigarettes, and a source of inspiration to others. I am pleased that many people are embracing a life free of tobacco and I very much hope that this will indeed inspire many more people to follow."

The public event was especially for ex-smokers who were in Brussels and got the chance to meet world renowned DJ, Bob Sinclar who, to celebrate the Day of the Ex-Smoker, has donated 1,000 free downloads of his new song, "Summer Moonlight". Speaking at the event, he explained that getting involved with the campaign was down to his appreciation for the benefits of a smoke free environment after working for years in clubs. He said:

"Now that smoking is banned in most clubs the environment is so much better for the crowd and for me - I can see better, my clothes don't smell and I know my health isn't suffering from 2nd hand smoke.

"Ex-smokers have more money, better health, a better quality of life...and they certainly smell better. When you quit you're making a conscious decision to choose life, to choose your own success. That's why we're celebrating today."

Launched in 2011, "Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable" is an EC flagship campaign, aimed at reversing the annual toll of 700,000 preventable deaths linked to tobacco across the EU.  Aimed specifically at the 28 million EU smokers aged from 25 to 34, "Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable" uniquely shifts the focus away from reiterating the dangers of smoking and highlights the benefits of quitting.  The campaign's science-based, free health tool, iCoach (www.exsmokers.eu) is available in 22 EU languages.

 The Day of the Ex-Smoker follows another recent innovation of the campaign, 'Quit Smoking With Barca', the European Commission's partnership with international football club, FC Barcelona. This program is currently supporting more than 70,000 people quit smoking (www.quitsmokingwithbarca.eu).

As the 'Day of the Ex-Smoker' events continue across Europe, it is hoped that a new tradition is being formed: that of congratulating ex-smokers and celebrating health.

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