Rock's own version of 'Break Free'

The theme for this year’s national No Smoking Day campaign in UK is ‘Break Free’ and, directed by Colour Sergeant John Cartwright, military personnel on the Rock have been acting out their own version of the ‘Break Free’ message.

‘The Big Cig’ was holding The Smoker (played, appropriately, by Chief Petty Officer Paul Newman) on the South Mole but, following a high speed rescue by a crack team from Gibraltar Squadron, The Smoker was whisked over to The Tower in a RHIB. The Gibraltar Defence Police then called for a military ambulance and, within minutes he was in the Princess Royal Medical Centre (PRMC) where, surprise, surprise, his tobacco habit was quickly broken. To everyone’s delight, the Smoker had been helped to Break Free.

Although this was only play-acting, the Armed Forces recognise that they still have a smoking problem. Whilst in UK only 25% of the Over-16 population are smokers, within the Forces the figure rises to 35%. But after last year’s No Smoking Day campaign in Gibraltar, over 30 Servicemen and women reported to the PRMC for various forms of support to break the habit. And, across the UK as a whole, it is thought that over 70% of smokers would be keen to stop: as smoking is the largest single cause of premature death, the National Health Service is keen to give its support to any anti-smoking measures.

On the Rock, last year’s No-Smoking Day was a huge success and when it was judged against another 115 entries from the National Health Service, private health trusts and schools, the Gibraltar campaign swept the board at the UK’s award ceremony. The joint PRMC/GHA campaign was crowned overall winner ‘due to the sheer quality and creativity of its submissions.’ The team was Highly Commended in no fewer than six of the fourteen categories. ‘We hope that our campaign is just as successful this year,’ said Lieutenant Commander Lorraine England of the PRMC. ‘But our main aim is not to win awards but to help lots of people give up a habit that causes over 100,000 deaths a year in UK.’

Throughout Wednesday, the GHA will be publicising No Smoking Day in Casemates Square.