Cancer Council Queensland has welcomed this week’s introduction of a Bill into Parliament urging the Government to protect Queenslanders from the harmful effects of smoking.
The Private Member’s Bill, sponsored by Shadow Health Minister and Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle MP, calls for a ban on cigarettes sold at ‘pop-up’ shops and smoking bans within five metres of Queensland Government buildings, at public transport waiting points and pedestrian malls, and at swimming pools and skate parks.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift urged the Government to provide bipartisan support for the proposed changes.
“Cancer Council Queensland commends the Bill and calls on all Members of Parliament to vote for a smoke free State,” Ms Clift said.
“These proposed changes to the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act will safeguard people from second-hand smoke, encourage more smokers to quit, and prevent more young people from taking up this lethal habit.
“Children and young people will benefit significantly, with discouragement of generational smoking and reduced exposure to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.
“The Bill responds to community appeals for smoke free places and acknowledges the evidence that most smokers want to quit, but need to be nudged.
“It raises the global benchmark in tobacco control and sets a new standard for public health and wellbeing.”
Ms Clift expressed appreciation for the Shadow Minister’s initiative.
“This is a strong step towards a smoke free future,” Ms Clift said.
“At least one Queenslander will die every day from second-hand smoking, without ever having smoked a cigarette in their life.
“There is no safe level of smoking or passive smoking, and we encourage the State Government to create a smoke free future for Queensland.
“Smoking costs the Queensland economy more than $6 billion each year, causing 3,700 deaths and resulting in over 35,000 hospitalisations.”
One in five male deaths and one in 10 female deaths each year in Queensland are due to smoking-related illness and disease, and 46 per cent of these are people under the age of 75.
“Community support for smoke free spaces is higher than ever, with majority non-smokers and fewer than 15 per cent of the adult population smoking daily,” Ms Clift said.
“We congratulate the LNP for its action and call on the State Government to protect the health of all Queenslanders by adopting the recommendations in this Bill.
“Under laws passed in 2009, the Bligh Government gave local councils the power to implement designated smoke free public places, a move that local governments have failed to embrace.”
Around 3700 Queenslanders die from a tobacco-related disease each year. About 370 of these deaths are caused by second-hand smoke exposure.
Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848).
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland