The Cancer Institute NSW and TV show League Nation Live are getting physical to encourage Aboriginal people across Australia to quit smoking.
Since premiering on Tuesday, March 29, The Cube has been making its commanding presence felt on the set of NITV’s new rugby league talk show.
Host Hannah Hollis frames it as “the newest and toughest live studio game in Australia”, a feat that can make even the healthiest among us lose our breath.
The elevated obstacle course, supported by the Break the Chain campaign, features two competitors attempting to scale unstable rope ladders in a bid to capture flags and reach the top.
The challenge is tackling the serious message of smoking’s impact on Aboriginal communities, combining fun, strength and positive role models.
Break the Chain links with current support services to help Aboriginal people quit smoking.
NSW Aboriginal Quitline (13 7848) provides professional support and advice on how to quit smoking from an Aboriginal Advisor, and iCanQuit.com.au has information, tools and advice from a supportive community.
Smoking is not a part of our culture
Smoking takes a significant toll on people in NSW, with more than one in four male cancer deaths and one in five of female cancer deaths in the state due to tobacco smoking.
For Aboriginal adults in NSW, however, the rate of smoking is more than twice as high non-Aboriginal adults, and lung cancer is almost twice as common.
Speaking with contestants following The Cube, presenter Nathan Appo highlights the difference the Institute and League Nation Live want to make.
“A lot of young kids think smoking is a part of our culture,” he says.
“We’re trying to change the way our people think around tobacco – changing their mindset and educating them on why it’s important to break that chain.”
Quitting smoking at any time will mean substantial health gains – the Aboriginal Smoking and Health Survey shows around three quarters of Aboriginal people who currently smoke show a desire to quit in the next six months, while 58 per cent of current smokers report they have strong feelings about quitting immediately.
Natalie Gala, a rugby representative with the Australian Indigenous All Stars team, says her passion for sport led her to quit smoking after taking up the habit as a teenager.
“I first tried it out when I was fresh 18, just to give it a go socially,” she says.
“Then I started making representative football.
“Once I realised it was impacting my performance… I quit smoking and just focused on my footy.”
Break the Chain aims to contribute to decreasing the number of Aboriginal people smoking in NSW by encouraging you to be the person in your community, family or friendship group that quits.
Partnering in change
League Nation Live debuted in 2016 on SBS’s National Indigenous Television, offering “the latest and greatest in entertainment and one of Australia’s favourite football codes, rugby league.”
The cast is led by newly retired Brisbane Bronco’s captain, Justin Hodges and Deadly Award winner and Logie Nominee, Aaron Fa’Aoso, together with Hannah Hollis, Nathan Appo and Jodan Perry.
The Cancer Institute NSW and NITV also partnered on the Aboriginal Quit Smoking Mini Series featuring Rugby League players Owen Craigie and Timana Tahu sharing their own quitting journeys.
Within the eight-part series, broadcast on NITV, Craigie and Tahu help encourage others in their community to quit the habit for good.
Tune into League Nation Live on Tuesdays from 7:30pm on NITV.
 Smoking-attributable cancer mortality in NSW, Australia, 1972–2008. Creighton, N, Perez, D and Cotte, T. 2015, Public Health Research Practice, Vol. 25(3):e2531530.
 Currow D, Thomson W, Lu H et al. Cancer in NSW: Incidence and Mortality Report 2010. Sydney: Cancer Institute NSW, 2015.
 Aboriginal Smoking and Health Survey: Key findings 2012 Aboriginal Smoking And Health Survey Fact Sheet