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Anti-smoking campaign in focus at Brussels gathering

(Vatican Radio) Brussels, Belgium, was the scene this week of an encounter with health and science journalists, in which reports were presented on the state of national health systems and new public health initiatives in member states. One initiative presented at the two-day showcase was an anti-smoking programme sponsored by the Barcelona soccer club, FC Barcelona. “Quit smoking with Barça” is a cooperative effort between FC Barcelona and the European Commission’s “Ex-smokers are Unstoppable” campaign, which has spread across 27 countries of the European Union over the last two years. At the heart of the campaign is the free on-line tool FCB iCoach, - a telephone app which offers updated support with the participation of Barça players, coaches and staff. The collaboration between a sporting institution and the European Commission aims to help more than 140 million European smokers give up smoking for good. When smokers sign up for the programme, they fill in a brief questionnaire to determine what help they need. Advice and tips based on their answers are then provided by Barça coaches, staff and players. The four Club captains - Carles Puyol, Andrés Iniesta, Víctor Valdés and Xavi, as well as Club President Sandro Rosell, coach Tito Vilanova, Guillermo Amor and other Club experts are all contributing to the programme. Listen to Salvatore Sabatino’s interview with FC Barcelona’s doctor, Jordi Monés: RealAudioMP3