Smoking: “is not an epidemic” says local football coach.

Gillian Lantouris

The AFL world has been shaken after a video of Jesse Hogan smoking goes viral.

The Melbourne Demons player was caught with a lit cigarette in hand at a Perth music festival on the 8th of April 2017.

Sam Calogero has been a local football coach for 30 years and agrees that AFL stars such as Hogan can have a big influence on local junior players.

“It’s not a good look for up and coming Auskickers or junior players to see someone like that.” said Calogero.

Although the Hampton Rovers coach believes that AFL players smoking publicly is not a good look, he also defends the players in saying that public puts too much pressure on these athletes.

“They are humans just like us, but they should be a bit smarter and not get caught.

If they want to have a smoke so be it, it’s better than going out and getting blind.

Back in my day smoking was predominant now the boys are focused on being good athletes and good role models for the community. “ Calogero said.

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“A lot more players now aren’t smoking” says Coach Sam Calogero

In agreement with Calogero, smoking amongst teens has decreased significantly since the 1980’s. According to Quit.org, Victoria’s smoking helpline, 30 percent of males aged 16 to 17 smoked regularly in 1984. This number has more than halved with only 13.4 percent smoking regularly in 2008.

“It died off back in the day every second bloke was having a cigarette now it’s random and rare, more social, it’s not like it’s an epidemic,” Calogero said.

When the video erupted on social media featuring Jesse Hogan smoking at Perth’s Hot Dub Machine music festival, he had been visiting his very ill father, Tony Hogan who has since passed away.

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Jesse Hogan smoking at Perth Music Festival, CLICK HERE to see full video. (source: The West Australian)

As Calogero said, often players smoking is a social event as opposed to a full blown addiction, and this may be the case for the young forward who was out with friends when he was caught in the act.

Coaching St Peter’s junior team as well as the Hampton Rovers senior team, Calogero said that they run a family orientated club.

He also said that they do their best to inform their young players on the dangers of anti-social behaviour so that they are smart enough not to blindly copy AFL stars.

“We have police come and have seminars with our juniors and they talk about drug rehabilitation, drugs smoking and anti-social behaviour, Facebook and social media so we do that to educate our junior club.

Here in our senior club it’s really self-awareness it’s really a lot of self-taught or self-led. If they want to have a smoke and there’s a lot of children around they go to a dry area.”

Admittedly, Calogero said that only about two players smoke within the club and so he doesn’t believe that it is a big issue.

“I think a lot more players now aren’t smoking, players in higher levels will do everything right, they are just so diligent on diet, performance and intake. They wouldn’t be that silly.”

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