A NEW programme to aid Basingstoke smokers kick the habit is set to launch with the help of firefighters.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) has partnered with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Quit4Life, the NHS stop smoking service, to offer the new programme.

Basingstoke smokers can sign up to the free 10 week Quit and Get Fit course which will offer weekly support and medication to give up smoking followed by an innovative exercise class run by the firefighters.

The Basingstoke course, set to launch on Wednesday, 21 March, follows other schemes held in Eastleigh, Havant and Rushmoor.

Norma Jane Beckwith, specialist adviser at Quit4Life who helped run previous sessions, said: “We started with a group of strangers, all quite different from one another, and ended with a group of buddies who had all been cheering each other on.

“We had lots of laughs with the fire crew and kit. I could not have been more proud of every individual in the group who took it upon themselves to put their health first and commit to the group.

“They were all fitter, healthier and smoke free.”

HFRS station commander in Havant, David Hodge, said: “The fire and rescue service is excited to be able to work with Quit4Life and the council in this new and innovative approach to helping people to quit smoking and increasing their fitness levels.

“We have always had a goal to make Hampshire safer; however we are now working with partners to make Hampshire healthier.”

To book a place on the course starting in Basingstoke, or for help to stop smoking, contact Quit4Life on 01252 335120.

Quit4life can also offer new vaping vouchers, for those who would like to stop smoking by using an e-cigarette, as well as traditional medications and nicotine replacement therapy.