Fresh air for sports fans

Wednesday 22 April, 2015

North Melbourne Football Club is top of the ladder when it comes to making their club smokefree – and now it wants to encourage other clubs to do the same.

The club has joined forces with Quit Victoria for an innovative new project encouraging Victorian sporting clubs to go completely smokefree.

Front and centre of the campaign is North Melbourne player, Drew Petrie, who stars in a humorous video giving clubs a few pointers on how to make the change.

The ‘Smokefree Sports’ project aims to support Victorian sporting clubs in going smokefree, protecting their communities from second-hand smoke and being strong role models for young people in the community. 

The initial phase will target regional areas where smoking rates are much higher, of up to 23% (in the Pyrenees region), than the state average of 13.3%1.

Proud ‘Smokefree Sports’ ambassador, Petrie said sporting clubs that committed to go completely smokefree were helping to put quitting on the agenda for their local communities.

“Going smokefree is one of best things you can do for your club and your community,” he said.

“It creates a healthy environment. Smoking and sport don’t mix.

“Here at the Roos, Kieran Harper, Todd Goldstein and Scott McMahon will also be ambassadors for ‘Smokefree Sports’ as we have been through the process of going smokefree and we hope our experience can help other clubs.’’

General Manager of Community Engagement at North Melbourne Football Club, Sonja Hood said going smokefree was one of the best things they had done as a club.

“We did it, now we want to help other sports clubs. No one wants to breathe in smoke, whether you’re on the field, in the stands or on the sidelines. Going smokefree is a win for you, your team and your community,” she said.

“If we can promote the smokefree message off-field, young players are going to perform better on field and the whole community will be healthier for it.”

As part of the project, Quit Victoria is launching a new set of resources to help clubs to make the transition to completely smokefree venues. 

Quit Victoria Cessation, Partnerships and Priority Settings Manager Luke Atkin explained that clubs don’t need to go it alone to go smokefree. 

“Quit has an easy–to-use guide that can step you through the process,” he said.

“There are templates readily available, so you don’t need to start from scratch, and tips on how to talk to people about the new rules.

“The majority of smokers want to give up; by adopting a smokefree policy sporting clubs can help to reduce the amount of triggers smokers face on a daily basis, which can only be a good thing.

“Going completely smokefree is worth the effort – so get your club on board.”

Contact:  Olivia Kostandinov, Communications Officer, 0433 877 403
                 Kate Hagan, Media Manager, 0438 058 406

Resources for clubs can be found at: http://quit.org.au/sportinggroups

For help to quit smoking, contact Quitline on 13 78 48


1 Victorian Population Health Survey 2011-12, selected preliminary findings, Department of Health, Melbourne, Victoria

Updated: 22 Apr, 2015