Queenslanders are crying out for changes to smoke-free laws in multi-unit housing

Cancer Council Queensland is calling for government action on smoke-drift in multi-unit housing, to keep Queenslanders safe from dangerous second-hand smoke.

Cancer Council Queensland’s new Everyday Health Survey findings show overwhelming support for action to reduce smoke-drift in multi-unit housing, with 88% of respondents in support.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO, Chris McMillan said second-hand smoke can be very harmful and that the survey findings highlight major concerns surrounding smoke-drift and the current options available to Queenslanders.

“Second-hand smoke is a carcinogen, meaning it is known to cause cancer,” Ms McMillan said.

“Non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke in the home have a 20-30% increased risk of developing lung cancer compared with people who live in a smoke-free home.

“The Queensland Government has been praised for its leadership in creating more smoke-free places, however, many Queenslanders are still exposed to the dangers of second-hand smoke – including in their homes.”

Cancer Council Queensland is contacted regularly by concerned members of the community regarding smoke-drift in multi-unit housing, with Queenslanders seeking advice and sharing frustrations at their limited options.

This year, Cancer Council Queensland surveyed 1,049 Queenslanders about their experiences and concerns regarding smoke-drift (second-hand smoke exposure) while living in multi-unit housing such as apartments and townhouses.

Ms McMillan said it is alarming how many Queenslanders are affected by smoke-drift in their own homes and urged the government to act now to protect our community.

“Alarmingly, nearly 95% of non-smoker respondents reported they had been affected by smoke-drift from neighbours, with 99% reporting exposure while within their home,” Ms McMillan noted.

“Nearly two in three respondents support Queensland laws banning smoking completely in multi-unit housing, while 20% of smokers who responded reported that banning smoking wouldn’t have a negative impact on them.”

“We urge the Queensland Government to act, to enable Queenslanders to live safely at home.”

The Heart Foundation offered its strong support for Cancer Council Queensland’s call to action.

Heart Foundation Queensland Advocacy Manager, Alison Durham, says exposure to second-hand smoke raises the risk of heart disease by about 30%.

“Second-hand smoke can cause heart disease in non-smokers, so laws to tackle smoke-drift at unit blocks are needed to protect Queenslanders’ heart health,” Ms Durham said.

“With people working from home more often in the age of COVID-19, it’s time for the Queensland Government to take action to protect Queenslanders from smoke-drift and create a healthier, safer living environment for all residents.”

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