Cancer Council has urged the Queensland Government to enact a blanket-ban on smoking in units and apartments ahead of the next State Election, following hundreds of community complaints on the issue.
The organisation’s submission to the Property Law Review recommends body corporates be given the power to enact smoke-free by-laws, including banning smoking completely, consistent with other Australian states.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan has called on the Government to provide Queenslanders with greater protection against the harms of smoke-drift in multi-unit dwellings.
“It is essential that all people living in community titles schemes have appropriate and equal access to avenues for addressing smoke-drift,” Ms McMillan said.
“Among our recommendations to the review, we would like to see the Government empower body corporates to ban smoking completely, by majority vote.
“We have also recommended provision of a dispute resolution service in relation to complaints about smoke-drift, through the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management, in addition to funding for the promotion of smoke-free homes.
“All Queenslanders deserve smoke-free homes – which includes protecting members of the community living in units and apartments from smoke drift – and particularly children and young people.
“There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. At least one Queenslander dies every week from passive smoking, having never smoked a cigarette in their life.
“Second-hand smoke causes lung cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke, nasal irritation and reproductive effects in women.
“In children it causes middle ear disease, respiratory symptoms, impaired lung function, lower respiratory illness and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).”
The Cancer Council’s submission follows a statewide survey proving that Queenslanders want a full ban on smoking in the community – once and for all.
“Now is the time to take tougher action against the scourge of smoking, to protect our next generation from the deadly impacts of tobacco,” Ms McMillan said.
“Our research shows 70 per cent of Queenslanders support a total ban on smoking in multi-unit dwellings, including balconies.
“Half of all respondents to our survey living in multi-unit dwellings are affected by smoke drift, and 55 per cent are extremely concerned about the health risks.
“Ensuring multi-unit dwellings are smoke-free involves a blanket ban on smoking, and educating residents about the importance of smoke-free homes.
“Smoke-free units and apartments will also encourage existing smokers to quit, and prevent the next generation from taking up the habit.”
About 12 per cent of Queensland adults smoke daily – down from 14 per cent in 2014 – with the majority of smokers wanting to quit.
Around 3700 Queenslanders die from a tobacco-related disease each year. One in eight Queensland adults smoke daily, and about 200,000 Queensland children live in a home with a current smoker.
“More broadly, we would welcome action by the State Government to consult with the community on a complete generational phase-out of smoking, as well as the introduction of a ban on smoking in the presence of children,” Ms McMillan said.
Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848).
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at cancerqld.org.au or Cancer Council’s 13 11 20.
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland
Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171
Smoke free laws in Queensland
The amendments to the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998 were passed on 23 February 2016 and came into effect on 1 September 2016. The new tobacco laws:
- 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.