QUIT Victoria is pleased to announce a landmark partnership with the Robinvale Football and Netball Club that aims to encourage young people in the community to lead smokefree lives and smokers to give up for good.
It's the first partnership of its type in Victoria, with other clubs likely to come on board throughout the season.
QUIT Support Programs Manager Luke Atkin said the sponsorship deal was an innovative way to put the anti-smoking message back on the community agenda.
"The Eagles are an important part of the Robinvale community - so this is a fantastic way of incorporating the anti-smoking message with something locals are passionate about. If people see the club and its players taking an anti-smoking stance, it will hopefully make them think twice about lighting up."
As well as helping the community as a whole, it's hoped the program will help reduce Aboriginal smoking rates in the region. Half of all Aboriginal people in Victoria are smokers, compared to less than one in five in the wider community.
"Smoking is the leading avoidable cause of the health gap between Aboriginal people and the rest of the Australian population. If we can reduce smoking rates among Aboriginal people, we can help increase life expectancy for many in the community," Mr Atkin said.
Under the partnership, young players will be educated about the health risks of smoking, while one game day this season will be held on completely smokefree grounds.
The partnership also includes:
- Training for local health care providers and Robinvale club staff so they can assist people trying to quit smoking
- Player education seminars
- Player polo shirts featuring the QUIT logo
- Stadium signage
Troy Moncur from the Robinvale Football and Netball Club said the partnership highlights the club's commitment to its players and the wider community.
"This is a great way for us to continue supporting the Robinvale 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 addressing alcohol issues within the Eagles, so tackling smoking is a natural progression. Our aim is to see our players and the community get the most out of football."
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 Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006) National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey 2004-2005,Commonwealth of Australia.
 Vos, T., Barker, B., Stanley, L. & Lopez,A.D. (2007) The burden of disease and injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2003. Brisbane: School of Population Health, The University of Queensland.