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'Quit Smoking With Barça' Wins Prestigious European Lung Foundation Award

EUROPEAN RESPIRATORY SOCIETY ANNUAL CONGRESS, BARCELONA, September 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Joint-initiative between European Commission and FC Barcelona recognised for boosting smoking cessation in Europe

Today, the European Lung Foundation (ELF) and The European Respiratory Society (ERS) announce that the European Commission / FC Barcelona'Quit Smoking with Barça'programme ( http://www.quitsmokingwithbarca.eu) has won the 2013 ELF award at the ERS Annual Congress.

     (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130907/638296 )

The campaign, that has seen more than 70,000 people across Europe register to become ex-smokers, is the first initiative of its kind between a major public institution and a world leading sports club. The campaign has drawn significant praise from the scientific and medical community across Europe for promoting the lifelong benefits of quitting smoking.

The ELF Award will be presented at the opening ceremony of the ERS Annual Congress (7 th - 11 th September, 2013), an event which gathers around 20,000 healthcare professionals to discuss the latest advances in respiratory medicine. 'Quit Smoking With Barça' has been recognized specifically for its contribution to improving European lung health.

It was a unanimous decision to honor the campaign with the award, according to ELF Chair Monica Fletcher: ' What impressed us most about this campaign was its unique approach to reach people who have previously not been successful at quitting smoking, or hadn ' t even tried to quit. The campaign has helped these people quit for good, making a significant impact in our shared quest to highlight the importance of good lung health. '

A major catalyst for the European Commission and Barça working together is their shared commitment to protecting people's health, says Paola Testori Coggi, Director-General for Health and Consumers, European Commission: " We are honoured to be here alongside FC Barcelona to receive this award for the  ' Quit Smoking With  Barça ' campaign. I am pleased that the positive impact we ' ve made through this partnership  has been recognised by the  wider health community. 70,000 Europeans have signed up to 'Quit Smoking With Barça' and  nearly 400,000 are trying to quit with the wider "Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable" campaign's smoking cessation tool, iCoach . We hope to  continue to inspire even more people to reap the benefits of a smoke-free life . "

Dr. Jordi Monés, head of FC Barcelona's medical area and the driving force behind the club's involvement in the campaign said ,  " We are delighted to have been able to collaborate with the European Commission on such an important public health issue. We are proud to stand alongside the EC, especially here in our city of  Barcelona , to collect this ELF award. It shows that thankfully our message is being noticed and that our combined efforts are making a positive difference. At Barça we firmly believe in our motto  ' more than a club '  and we promote values of respect, health and social commitment. The  ' Quit Smoking With Barça ' programme allows us to live that motto. "

Tobacco is the single largest cause of avoidable death in the European Union (EU) accounting for almost 700,000 deaths each year. [1]   One in four (26%) of all deaths from cancer in the EU is caused by smoking, and smoking is responsible for 85% of lung cancer deaths across the EU. [2]

' Quit Smoking With Barça '  was launched in December 2012, to build on the success of the EC ' s  " Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable "  campaign ( http://www.exsmokers.eu ). By harnessing the support of Barça ' s millions of fans, this unprecedented partnership set out to help many more of Europe ' s 140 million smokers tokick the habit forever.

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