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Smokefree round a breath of fresh air for Red Cliffs footy fans

Tuesday 30 July, 2013

The Red Cliffs Football Club will go smoke free for their round 15 clash against South Mildura this weekend.

The club will be smoke free on the grounds and in the club except for designated smoking areas, as a first step towards becoming smoke free on a more permanent basis.

The round is being sponsored by Quit Victoria  and Mallee District Aboriginal Services including the after-game entertainment which will feature a performance from Aboriginal comedian Kevin Kropinyeri.

Quit Victoria Cessation, Partnerships and Priority Settings Manager Luke Atkin said the round was a great way to put the anti-smoking message back on the community's agenda.

"The Tigers are an important part of the Red Cliffs community, so this is a fantastic way of incorporating the anti-smoking message with something locals are passionate about," Mr Atkin said.

"If people see the club and its players taking an anti-smoking stance, it will hopefully make them think twice about lighting up."

There are about a dozen Aboriginal players on the Tigers' books this season, and as well as helping the community as a whole, it's hoped the Quit day will help reduce Aboriginal smoking rates in the region. Half of all Aboriginal people in Victoria are smokers, compared to less than one in seven in the wider community.

"Smoking is the leading avoidable cause of the health gap between Aboriginal people and the rest of the Australian population," MDAS chief executive Rudolph Kirby said.

"If we can reduce smoking rates, we can take some really significant steps towards closing the gap that is still so problematic for health outcomes and life expectation for Aboriginal people."

Troy Moncur from the Red Cliffs Football and Netball Club said the partnership highlighted the club's commitment to its players and the wider community.

"This is a great way for us to continue supporting the Red Cliffs community and to give both our players and followers the best opportunity to lead a healthy lifestyle."

"We've already come a long way when it comes to being a more professional club. We want to be successful and provide a family friendly environment, so tackling smoking is a natural progression. Our aim is to see our players and the community get the most out of football and netball."

Red Cliffs star player Shannon Motlop said sport and smoking just didn't mix.

"There's no way you can be at your best on the field if you're struggling to breathe after a cigarette," he said.

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