“We’ve gone from 30 per cent of adults smoking daily to 12 per cent in 15 years, and encouragingly, the number of teenagers smoking has dropped from 24 per cent to 6 per cent over the same period, so the message is getting through,
“But smoking, and exposure to second-hand smoke, remains a major public health issue.
“While market research shows most smokers try and do the right thing when it comes to where they smoke, these new smoke-free areas will serve to firm-up protection for non-smokers.
In particular the laws will protect children from second-hand smoke at the places where they learn and play sport, as well as reducing the visibility of smoking when young eyes are watching.”
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick
Australia’s toughest anti-smoking laws aimed at reducing the harm caused by secondary smoking in Queensland come into effect from today.
New laws come into effect from September 1 expanding smoke-free zones to include bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals or any public transport waiting point, under-18 organised sporting events and skate parks, at and around early childhood education and care facilities and at public swimming pool complexes.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said the laws were designed to protect all Queenslanders from harmful second-hand smoke, to further encourage smokers to quit, and importantly, to discourage young people from ever starting to smoke.
Smokers will also be required to butt out at popular visitor areas such as picnic and barbecue sites and camping ground areas in National Parks from February 1, 2017.
Queensland National Parks Minister Dr Steven Miles said Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) would be rolling out an education campaign to advise park visitors of the upcoming smoking bans.
“QPWS is working closely with Queensland Health to ensure appropriate education strategies are in place to communicate the smoking restrictions in national parks to the public,” Dr Miles said.
“Visitors to National Parks will see the smoking ban message on QPWS web pages, on the department’s online camping booking system, on camping tags, and gradually in signage in parks.
“The design and placement of signage will strike a balance between informing the community about the smoking restrictions, and avoiding visual pollution in national parks.”
The ban will apply to pedestrian precincts around prescribed State Government owned or occupied buildings, such as the new building at 1 William St.
As about 88 per cent of Queensland adults are non-smokers, the new smoking laws respond to community demands for more smoke-free public areas.
Mr Dick said that the new laws would reinforce the message that second-hand smoke is a danger to everyone and smokers can get help if they wish to stop.
“Queenslanders have a good track record of accepting and complying with new smoke-free places, particularly those associated with children, so I believe smokers will also comply with these new rules,” he said.
“We know our measures are working as the smoking rate is declining and we have also seen an encouraging increase in calls to Queensland Health’s Quitline in recent months.”
In that time, there has been a 40 per cent increase in calls to Quitline following two quit smoking advertising campaigns – from the Commonwealth and State levels – being ‘in market’ at the same time.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO, Professor Jeff Dunn AO, commended the Queensland Government for introducing the laws.
“These laws will save lives and lay the foundation for a smoke-free future,” he said.
“Almost one Queenslander will die every day from inhaling tobacco smoke, without ever having smoked a cigarette in their life.
“There is no safe level of smoking or passive smoking, and we know that bans on smoking in public places are an effective way of creating smoke-free communities.
“Most smokers want to quit, and each year about 10,000 of them are successful in Queensland – many more are now likely to succeed thanks to the Queensland Government’s actions.
“Smoking is estimated to cost the Queensland economy more than $6 billion each year, causing 3,422 deaths and resulting in over 35,000 hospitalisations.
“These regulations will help to end the tragic toll that cigarettes take on our lives – smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in Queensland: two in three Queensland smokers will die from the habit; one-third of smokers will tragically die in middle age, losing at least 20 years of life; and current smokers will die an average of 10 years earlier than non-smokers, with mortality rates increasing substantially with the increased intensity of smoking.
“Community support for smoke free spaces is higher than ever, with majority non-smokers and only about 12 per cent of the adult population smoking daily.
“We applaud the Health Minister for his action.”
Smokers interested in quitting should phone
13 QUIT (13 7848)
for a tailored quit smoking program.
The amendments to the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998 were passed on 23 February 2016 and come into effect on 1 September 2016. The new tobacco laws will:
- Ban smoking at or near underage organised sporting events and skate parks
- Ban smoking in and around approved early childhood education and care facilities, including kindergartens and places offering after school hour care
- Ban smoking at all residential aged care facilities outside of nominated outdoor smoking places
- Increase the smoke-free buffer at all government, commercial and non‑residential building entrances from four to five metres
- Ban smoking at pedestrian precincts around prescribed State Government buildings, such as 1 William Street
- Ban smoking at prescribed national parks or parts of parks
- Ban smoking at public swimming pools
- Ban smoking at all outdoor pedestrian malls and public transport waiting points
- Empower local government to ban smoking in any other public space, including on any street or park
- Ban the sale of tobacco products from temporary retail outlets, such as at music festivals.
- The laws also include electronic cigarettes as they are classified as smoking products.