Cancer Council chief calls for a smoke free future

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Professor Jeff Dunn AO has applauded a plea for Queenslanders to outlaw smoking in their homes, while calling for consideration of a generational phase-out of smoking.

The Chief Health Officer has today urged Queenslanders to outlaw smoking in their homes and protect families and children from the dangers of second and third-hand smoke.

Cancer Council fully supports proposals to ban smoking in the presence of children, and has asked whether it’s time to actively consider a generational phase-out of cigarettes.

“Every time a child inhales the second-hand smoke of an adult, we are failing in our duty of care,” Prof Dunn said.

“We urgently need a ban on smoking in the presence of children to protect Queensland’s next generation from the tragic death toll of tobacco.

“Queensland is uniquely placed to be a global leader in this field, having recently introduced the most progressive smoke free laws of any jurisdiction in the world.”

Queensland’s new laws, to take effect from September, will safeguard people from second-hand smoke, encourage more smokers to quit, and prevent more young people from taking up the lethal habit.

“We need to ask ourselves, are we doing enough? A generational phase-out could take the form of a complete ban on smoking for all children born after 2001,” Prof Dunn said.

“This would mean that young people turning 15 this year would never legally be allowed to smoke – providing a glide path to end the scourge of cigarettes.

“One thing is certain – our failure to take action today will burden our children tomorrow with tobacco-related debt and disease.

“Cancer Council Queensland stands ready to protect our children and call for even stronger action against smoking.

“We urge all Queenslanders to stand with us for a smoke free future.”

Cancer Council has backed the Palaszczuk Government for taking a strong stance on second and third-hand smoke, following the launch of a new QUIT campaign.

The next phase of Queensland Health’s All By Myself campaign aims to educate smokers about the serious risk their habit poses to friends and family.

“At least 370 Queenslanders die each year from smoking-related illness and disease, even though they have never smoke a cigarette in their life,” Prof Dunn said.

“Research shows second-hand smoke can linger in enclosed places, like inside cars and homes, for up to two hours, and can damage the health of the people around the person smoking.

“Third-hand smoke, which occurs when second-hand smoke reacts with indoor air, clings to furniture, carpets, walls, seatbelts and children’s toys – it’s a proven threat to human health.

“Chemicals from second-hand smoke stick to curtains, dust, clothing, toys and floors – and can remain in a home as third-hand smoke on surfaces for months after active smoking occurs.

“Third-hand smoke can be found in cars, units and homes – anywhere that smoking takes place in an enclosed space, and can even stick to the hair and skin of smokers.”

Around 12 per cent of Queensland adults smoke daily – 50,000 fewer people than in 2014. Research shows the majority of smokers want to quit.

Around 3700 Queenslanders die from a tobacco-related disease each year. About 370 of these deaths are caused by second-hand smoke exposure.

On September 1 2016, new laws will come into effect banning smoking at public transport waiting points, pedestrian malls, aged care facilities, specified national parks and at or near children’s organised sporting events and skate parks in Queensland.

Smokers are urged to call the Quitline on 13 QUIT (13 7848) for help with quitting.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at or 13 11 20.


For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift,
Executive Manager,
Media and Spokesperson,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5372
Mobile: 0409 001 171