BRIGHTON and Hove Albion is uniting with other clubs around the country in a bid to encourage fans to give up smoking.

The Premier League side’s official charity Albion in the Community (AITC) has thrown its support behind the annual Stoptober campaign after research revealed three quarters of football-lovers want to quit.

The online survey of fans also showed 63 per cent liked the idea of their club helping them to kick the habit.

Nearly half, 48 per cent, believed the atmosphere around watching football games gave them the urge to smoke and 50 per cent said they would like the option to buy quitting aids at football grounds.

Organisers behind Stoptober said of the best things clubs could do to help fans quit smoking is to start winning, as the survey revealed supporters were twice as likely to smoke more if their team was having a tough season.

AITC chief executive Matt Dorn said: “Everyone at Albion in the Community is delighted to support Stoptober.

“Research shows that smoking causes around 89 per cent of lung cancer deaths so campaigns like this one are incredibly important.

“As a charity we run a cancer awareness project called Speak Up Against Cancer which looks to increase knowledge of early signs and symptoms of a range of different cancers, so supporting campaigns like Stoptober is an obvious extension of that work.

“If anyone is thinking about quitting smoking our advice would be to take up the 28-day challenge.”

More than 17,800 people have been given vital, potentially life-saving advice from AITC’s Speak Up campaign team.

Public Health England director of health improvement John Newton said: “We know from previous years that typically more women take part in Stoptober than men.

“However, in England smoking rates in men are higher – 17 per cent compared to 14 per cent.

“Although of course both men and women enjoy a game of football, the majority of fans are male.

“It is therefore great to see so many clubs at the heart of local communities getting on board with Stoptober to encourage their supporters to quit.”

This is Stoptober’s sixth year, having driven more than a million and a half quit attempts to date.

The campaign is based on research that if a person can give up smoking for 28 days in a row, they are five times more likely to stop for good.