Smoking is more than just an expensive habit – it steals lifetimes and tears families apart, those present at a World No Tobacco Day event have been told.
In Edwards Square, Murray Bridge last Thursday, several Aboriginal health organisations joined forces to warn about the long-term consequences of smoking.
T-shirts designed by local artist Harley Hall were given out as people pledged to live smoke-free, or help friends and family do so; sausages were cooked and songs sung.
Mr Hall said smoking had always been a big part of his family.
He had lost both of his nannas to emphysema, he said; his father had had lung cancer and his mother now had a reduced lung capacity as well.
"So much of our community is smoking," he said.
"Family means everything to us blackfellas, so it's time to start now, time to take the pledge."
Harold Bundamarra Stewart, now aged in his 60s, said he finally managed to quit 25 years ago.
"I struggled all my life," he said.
"I had my first cigarette when I was 15 years old.
"Now I've dedicated my life to helping get that message out there about the dangers of smoking."
It was a significant factor in diabetes, he said, and three or four other diseases came along with it.
He urged all smokers to seek help from health services.
"It's very important to have support," he said.
"I struggled – I quit seven times in my life and always went back.
"But you can give up successfully."
The event was organised by the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, Moorundi Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Service, Quitline and Puyu Blasters.
Another anti-smoking lunch was held at Moorundi’s clinic on Standen Street on Friday.
- Get help: Quitline 13 78 48, Moorundi Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Service 8531 0289.