Cancer Council steps-up call to arms to save our kids

Cancer Council will today step-up its advocacy to better protect the estimated 200,000 Queensland children who live in a household with a current smoker.

The action, to coincide with World No Tobacco Day, seeks to raise awareness of how chemicals from second-hand smoke can remain on surfaces around the home long after cigarettes are stubbed out – transferring to children’s hands and feet.

Babies and children exposed to second-hand smoke face higher risks of illnesses including SIDS, breathing problems, impaired lung function, painful ear infections, bronchitis and croup.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said busting the myths on second-hand smoke was a top priority for the charity.

“We’re calling for community support today to help protect Queensland’s next generation from potential illness and disease caused by smoke-drift,” Ms McMillan said.

“Making your home totally smoke-free is the only way to protect your children from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.

“Our World No Tobacco Day initiative aims to bust four main myths about second-hand smoke in the home.

“Myth 1 is that smoking in another room will not harm anyone. Even if you have the door closed, second-hand smoke can spread quickly to all areas of the home and stick to furniture, floors, toys and other objects.

“Myth 2 is that opening a window allows second-hand smoke to leave the home. Even when you smoke beside an open window, second-hand smoke will still spread to other parts of the home and deposit poisonous chemicals onto household items.

“Myth 3 is that smoking when the children are not home is harmless. The fact is that second-hand smoke lingers in the home long after a cigarette is finished. Contamination from smoke can stay in the home for weeks and even months after smoking has stopped.

“Myth 4 is that smoking just outside the home will protect children from second-hand smoke drift. Smoke curls are an insidious threat and easily spread to other areas of the home. Smokes should move at least ten metres from open doors or windows so smoke doesn’t drift into living and recreational areas, including outdoor spaces such as children’s cubby houses or swing sets.

“This World No Tobacco Day – we want to protect Queensland’s next generation from the harmful effects of tobacco – by raising awareness of the harms caused by second-hand smoke in the home.”

About 12 per cent of Queensland adults smoke daily, and about 200,000 Queensland children currently live in a home with a smoker.

“Cancer Council Queensland has called for a full ban on smoking in the presence of children, and has also urged the Government to consult with the community on a generational phase-out of smoking,” Ms McMillan said.

“We commend the Government for its historical and recent actions, and urge ongoing action to lead the global elimination of illness, disease, and the tragic death toll caused by tobacco products.”

Around 3700 Queenslanders die from a tobacco-related disease each year. At least one death every week is caused by second-hand smoke exposure.

Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848).

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at or Cancer Council’s 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


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.