RUGBY LEAGUE SIDE BACKS ‘QUIT SMOKING’ CAMPAIGN
FEMALE rugby league players from the Mt Druitt area are tackling the issue of smoking among pregnant indigenous women.
Shocked by the number of expectant Aboriginal mothers in western Sydney who smoke – almost one in two – the Red Belly Blacks team joined Western Sydney Local Health District’s Quit for New Life initiative. Sporting the campaign’s logo at the recent Koori Knockout, the team spoke to women at the carnival and prior training sessions about the importance of health.
“We got involved to get the message out, to reach out to young mums and people trying to quit smoking,” team manager Jenny Murray, of Mt Druitt, said.
Ms Murray, a nursing student, said the team was passionate about the issue. It was also close to home for the manager, who quit smoking eight years ago. She wanted to keep the conversation going to “break that cycle within my people and our community”.
Almost one-third of indigenous mothers at Blacktown Hospital smoke during their pregnancy. In 2015 almost 45 per cent of Aboriginal mums-to-be smoked, while the rate for non-indigenous mums was just seven per cent.
The Quit for New Life program offers counselling and free nicotine replacements.
Western Sydney Local Health District population health deputy director Christine Newman said smoking while pregnant contributed to an increased risk of complications such as spontaneous abortion, still birth and SIDS.
Jenny Murray (front) and the Red Belly Blacks.