11 June 2024

Via and Brio Leisure launch new Swap to Stop scheme in Cheshire West and Chester

Via and Brio Leisure colleagues holding Swap to Stop packages

Pictured (left to right): Roma Dooley, Assessment and Engagement Worker, Via – New Beginnings and Alison Cheshire, Smoking Practitioner, Brio Leisure.


Via is partnering with Brio Leisure to provide Swap to Stop for people who attend Via’s drug and alcohol support service in Cheshire West and Chester, New Beginnings.

This new partnership aims to tackle smoking among those in drug and alcohol treatment across the county, by empowering people to quit smoking and lead healthier lives through the national government vaping scheme, Swap to Stop.

In 2022, there were approximately 25,700 people in Cheshire West and Chester who were smokers, around 9% of the local population.

When it comes to people accessing drug and alcohol support, this percentage is significantly greater. In 2022-2023, about 49% of the people accessing drug and alcohol treatment services in England reported smoking tobacco in the 28 days before they started treatment.

As a result of the clear need that these figures illustrate, Cheshire West and Chester Council and Brio Leisure secured funding to deliver the Swap to Stop scheme for this vulnerable group of people.

The support is tailored to the needs of people who attend drug and alcohol services, and will encourage individuals to believe in, and take ownership of, their capacity to make positive changes in their smoking habits and help them to take the initial steps towards quitting smoking by transitioning to vaping.

Those who are eligible will receive a refillable, 4-week vape starter pack along with educational resources and support materials direct from their local Via drug and alcohol support service.

Professor Helen Bromley, Director of Public Health at Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “Two in three people who smoke will die as a result of their tobacco use. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable heart disease, stroke, cancers and respiratory illness.

The number of people smoking is particularly high among those being treated for alcohol and drug addiction. This programme aims to support individuals to quit smoking through partnership working and targeting those residents most in need of support.

We want to help all residents in the borough to be resilient and able to live their best lives.”

Dave Targett, Area Director at Via said: “We are very pleased to be able to offer this intervention in partnership with Brio. It is so very important to make the most of every contact we have with the people who use our services, to support them to establish healthy and happy lives. This programme will help us to do that, and the joint working is a credit to all involved.”

Matt Parker, Managing Director at Brio said “Brio is thrilled we have been able to collaborate with Via on the launch of Cheshire West’s ‘Swap to Stop’ programme. This partnership is a significant step forward in our mission to reach individuals who might not traditionally access our community-based wellbeing programmes. By joining forces, we are committed to making a profound impact in our local communities and strengthening health outcomes. Together, we can support and empower more people to lead healthier lives.”


About Via

Via is a leading health and wellbeing charity that supports people to transform their lives for the better and helps them to manage their health and wellbeing independently. Providing safe and effective treatment and care around alcohol and drugs, mental health, smoking cessation, sexual health and employment support, Via supports thousands of people every year across the UK. For more information about Via, visit: www.viaorg.uk or contact communications@viaorg.uk.

For more information about Via, visit www.viaorg.uk or contact communications@viaorg.uk.

For more information about Via’s New Beginnings service in Cheshire West and Chester, visit https://www.viaorg.uk/services/cheshire-west-and-chester-new-beginnings/.


About Brio Leisure

Brio Leisure is a Community Interest Company established in May 2011. We’re wholly owned by Cheshire West and Chester Council (Shareholder), a company limited by guarantee.

As the largest provider of leisure and wellbeing services across the borough, we have a shared vision with our shareholder to make leisure accessible, affordable and attractive to the people of Cheshire West and Chester, with the ultimate aim of supporting health and wellbeing improvements for residents and communities across our borough. Visit www.brioleisure.org or search ‘Brio Leisure’ on social media for more info.

For more information about our Smoking Cessation Programme, visit: www.cheshirechangehub.org/services/quit-smoking or call 0300 777 0033.