Glasgow's two football giants are uniting on National No Smoking Day to help fans who smoke to kick the habit. From today, help and advice on how to quit smoking will be available via both the Celtic and Rangers websites. The two clubs will point fans towards NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's Smoking Concerns service, where support is available to help any smoker to give up.
Since the implementation of the smoking ban almost a year ago, both Rangers and Celtic have had to deal with a number of fans repeatedly ignoring the smoking ban and lighting up in the stadium toilets at half-time. Smoking within Celtic Park and Ibrox is not only illegal, but also puts the health of fellow fans at risk. In order to help fans access any help they may need to kick the habit, both clubs' websites now link to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's Smoking Concerns. Information on Smoking Concerns is also in the latest editions of the Rangers News and Celtic View magazines.
"This may now need to be followed up by the suspension of season tickets and indefinite bans if smokers persist in defying the legislation. The Club has a duty to provide a smoke free environment for other fans worried about the effects of tobacco smoke on their health and I commend the advice being offered in conjunction with Smoking Concerns."
Laurence Macintyre, Head of Safety at Rangers, commented: "Whilst the Club has tried to be as understanding as possible with smokers in the transition between a 'smoking' and 'no smoking' stadium, over 100 fans have been ejected from matches over the last year at half-time.
Ronnie Hawthorn, Head of Safety, Security and Stadium Operations at Celtic said: "Celtic FC is fully committed to supporting No Smoking Day on 14th March and all other initiatives which promote a healthy lifestyle. Clearly, following recent legislation it is the duty of Celtic FC to ensure that Celtic Park is a smoke free area and this is something which we will continue to enforce strongly. We thank our fans for their support in this regard and we will continue to work in close partnership with the health authorities and Environmental Protection Services to promote a strong anti-smoking message."
Agnes McGowan, Manager of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's Smoking Concerns, said: "We understand how hard it is to give up smoking and that's why it's important for smokers to know that there is plenty of help available. Both Celtic and Rangers are keen to call a halt to the small numbers of fans who are ignoring the ban, and one way we hope we can help is by offering these fans advice and information on how they can give up.
"It's fantastic news that the thousands of fans who go on to www.celticfc.net and www.rangers.co.uk can now get advice that could help save their life."