A CAMPAIGN has been launched to make a Sussex football team become a smoke-free club.

The ambitious aim by Crawley Town FC is to get all its fans and staff to kick the habit and boost their health.

The #RetireYourLighter campaign also encourages people to consider switching to e-cigarettes.

The club has joined forces with the company Vaporized to help raise awareness.

The scheme is backed by Crawley Mayor Brian Quinn who said: “It’s great to see private businesses being proactive in solving local issues across Crawley.

“A reduction of smokers in our area means the healthier our community will become.

“This can only be a good thing for Crawley residents.

A club spokesman said: “Whilst we as a club have high ambitions on the pitch, we also have great hopes and aspirations for our fan base and the community at large.

“This initiative to make us a smoke-free football club is one we are delighted to be a part of and we will strive to achieve our goals.”

Vaporized has now become the official social media team-sheet partner for Crawley Town FC, providing the team news for Football League Two fixtures.

Recent studies surrounding the vaping market have concluded e-cigarettes are much safer than conventional cigarettes.

Lion Shahab, senior lecturer in the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London, said: “We’ve shown that the levels of toxic chemicals in the body from e-cigarettes are considerably lower than suggested in previous studies using simulated experiments.

“Our results also suggest that while e-cigarettes are not only safer, the amount of nicotine they provide is not noticeably different to conventional cigarettes.

“This can help people to stop smoking altogether by dealing with their cravings in a safer way.”

Vaporized marketing manager Pamela Cunningham said: “We really wanted to give something back to the community, especially since Crawley has the highest smoking rates in West Sussex.

“Creating the world’s first smoke-free football club is an ambitious aim.

“After seeing the efforts of local anti-smoking initiatives, we really want to make a difference.”

Smoking causes about 90 per cent of lung cancers and can also damage the heart and blood circulation.

This increases the risk of developing conditions such as coronary heart disease, heart attack and damaged arteries.

Smoking also damages the lungs, leading to conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, emphysema and pneumonia.

It can also worsen or prolong the symptoms of respiratory conditions such as asthma.