Health groups have welcomed news that the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games will be the first ever 100 per cent smokefree Games.
VicHealth and Quit have applauded the move to make the Commonwealth Games smokefree, claiming it will not only reduce exposure to second-hand smoke but also promote the benefits of a smokefree lifestyle.
Chief Executive Officer of VicHealth, Dr Rob Moodie, said the upcoming Games were the perfect opportunity to showcase Victoria's leadership in reducing tobacco harm.
""By hosting a smokefree Commonwealth Games, Victoria sends a clear message to the rest of they world that it is committed to promoting a healthy lifestyle for the whole community.""
""The Commonwealth Games celebrate sport, fitness and friendship, and by declaring them smokefree the Government is creating a healthy environment that everyone can enjoy without having to worry about exposure to second-hand smoke.""
Executive Director of Quit Victoria said a smokefree Commonwealth Games was consistent with the overwhelming community expectation and support for smokefree environments.
""The vast majority of Victorians are in favour of smokefree environments so this will be a popular decision amongst all those involved with the Games whether they are punters, athletes or officials.""
""Smokefree policies are designed to protect all people from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke and the effort to reduce exposure to second-hand smokes at Games venues should be commended.""
Dr Moodie said a smokefree Commonwealth Games made perfect sense, especially considering that excellence in most sports is difficult to achieve if you are a smoker.
""To reach a world class standard in most sports your body must be in peak condition, and it is important for young people who may aspire to compete at this level to understand smoking can hold you back physically.""
The 2006 Commonwealth Games smokefree policy also states that no tobacco product can be sold, advertised or promoted within any Games venues.
""The tobacco industry is notorious for promoting and selling products at venues where younger people are present, so it is fantastic to see these sneaky marketing tactics being stamped out,"" said Mr Harper.
""By minimising the exposure of younger people to social situations where smoking not only occurs, but is promoted via backdoor tobacco industry marketing, we can dismantle the myth that smoking is a normal behaviour.""
A smokefree Commonwealth Games will also prepare Victorians for the latest raft of State Government tobacco reforms, said Dr Moodie.
""From March this year, a series of significant tobacco reforms aiming to decrease the devastating toll of tobacco on our community will be rolled out, and a smokefree Commonwealth Games will increase community awareness and support around these legislative changes.""
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