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Carlton supporters get the wooden spoon for smoking rates


A higher proportion of Carlton supporters smoke than those who support any other AFL team, data released today has revealed.

The findings, from The Cancer Council Victoria, reveal that 28% of Carlton supporters are regular smokers. Collingwood had the second highest rate of regular smoking among its supporters at 27%, followed by supporters of the Brisbane Lions (23%), Essendon (22%), and Hawthorn (22%). 

Carlton's opponent for its farewell match at Optus Oval this weekend, Melbourne, has one of the lowest levels of smoking. The lowest prevalence of regular smoking was among St Kilda supporters at just 11%, followed by Melbourne (13%) and Richmond supporters (15%).

Smoking prevalence in Victoria in 2003 was 16.6%.

Of the 3000 Victorian adults surveyed, 63% supported an AFL team.   21% of those who support an AFL team were regular smokers.

Executive Director of Quit Victoria, Mr Todd Harper, said despite Carlton leading the league table when it came to highest smoking rates the club had made great progress in the last few years.

""The partnership between VicHealth and the Carlton Football Club, has seen the club transform into a smokefree environment, and this move places them amongst the sporting leaders in providing a safer, more enjoyable smokefree environment, "" said Mr Harper.

""With World No Tobacco Day next week, Quit is encouraging all AFL supporters to adopt a smokefree lifestyle and call the Quitline.  Barracking for your team is not only more enjoyable but more effective when your lungs are at full capacity.""

Mr Harper said the percentage of smokers amongst supporters of the West Coast Eagles, the Adelaide Crows, Port Adelaide and the Fremantle Dockers could not be determined due to low numbers.

“We did try hard to find some interstate supporters in Victoria, but it was hard to find a pulse. This could be for a number of reasons, be it average form on the field or even the fact that most interstate teams have pretty silly team songs.”

Support for smokefree bars and pubs is high among footy supporters, suggesting that most would prefer to watch the game without the discomfort of passive smoking.

“It's great to see so many footy fans get behind the push for smokefree pubs and bars. Footy fans have a reputation for being great patrons of the Aussie pub, so the fact that they are so willing to embrace smokefree bars and clubs is significant,” said Mr Harper.

Of all AFL supporters, supporters of the Brisbane Lions had the highest rate of approval for the implementation of smokefree pubs and bars (86% approval), followed by supporters of the Tigers (81%) and the Saints (80%). 

The study found that most popular Victorian teams (in order) were: Essendon, Collingwood, Carlton, Geelong, Richmond, St Kilda, Hawthorn, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs. 

AFL supporters' smoking rates, by AFL teams: 2004

AFL Teams n

Total AFL support %

Regular smokers* % Rank
Carlton Blues 197 10.4 27.8 1st
Collingwood Magpies 334 17.7 26.7 2nd
Brisbane Lions 43 2.3 23.3 3rd
Essendon Bombers 339 18.0 21.7 4th
Hawthorn Hawks 127 6.7 21.5 5th
Nth Melbourne Kangaroos 97 5.1 21.0 6th
Sydney Swans 42 2.2 20.5 7th (eq)
Western Bulldogs 72 3.8 20.5 7th (eq)
Geelong Cats 183 9.7 18.9 8th
Richmond Tigers 153 8.1 15.3 9th
Melbourne Demons 111 5.9 13.4 10th
St Kilda Saints 143 7.6 10.7 11th
Westcoast Eagles 18 0.9 - -
Adelaide Crows 15 0.8 - -
Port Adelaide Power 9 0.5 - -
Fremantle Dockers 6 0.3 - -

Supports an AFL team

1887 100.0 21.0 -
Does not support an AFL team 1113 0.0 16.3 -

* Includes daily and weekly smokers
- Percentage of regular smokers not calculated for teams with less than 40 supporters due to low numbers

Approval for smokefree pubs/bars & Approval for banning cigarette displays at the point of sale

AFL Teams** n Approval of smokefree pubs/bars Rank
Carlton Blues 197 72.8 10th
Collingwood Magpies 334 73.4 9th
Brisbane Lions 43 86.0 1st
Essendon Bombers 339 78.6 6th
Nth Melbourne Kangaroos 97 71.9 11th
Hawthorn Hawks 127 74.7 8th
Sydney Swans 42 65.8 12th
Western Bulldogs 72 74.7 7th
Geelong Cats 183 79.2 4th
Richmond Tigers 153 81.4 2nd
Melbourne Demons 111 78.9 5th
St Kilda Saints 143 79.5 3rd
Does not support an AFL team 1113 80.6
Total Victorian population 3000 78.8

**Ranked by highest smoking prevalence (excluding those who do not support an AFL team).
Note: Supporters of West Coast Eagles, Adelaide Crows, Port Adelaide and Fremantle Dockers are not included in the table due to small numbers surveyed.


Edwina Vellar,
Media Manager
ph: (03) 9635 5400
mob: 0417 303 811
email: Edwina.Vellar@cancervic.org.au

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