New figures show smoking rates are significantly declining, with more Queenslanders giving up the harmful habit.
The latest statistics from the 2016 Chief Health Officer report* released yesterday, reveal 12 per cent of Queenslanders smoke daily, down from 14 per cent in 2014.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Nicole Border said the figures were encouraging but more work still needed to be done.
“Smoking rates in Queensland have declined by more than 50 per cent since 1998, but more than 450,000 adults continued to smoke daily in 2016,” Ms Border said.
“Of significant concern, the figures showed more than 8200 women smoked during pregnancy in 2014, putting themselves and their child at risk.
“Smoking while pregnant can cause a range of health complications for both the mother and child, including an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth and SIDS.
“200,000 children were also living in a household with a current smoker in 2015 to 2016, exposing them to second and third hand smoke.
“Two out of every three smokers will die from their habit and tragically, and at least one Queenslander will die this week from second-hand smoke exposure – having never smoked a cigarette in their life.”
Tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Queensland, despite the reduction in smoking rates.
“Around 3700 Queenslanders die from a tobacco-related disease each year – about 2 per cent of these deaths are caused by second-hand smoke exposure,” Ms Border said.
“To further combat this issue and prevent more deaths, action on smoking requires the cooperation of all levels of government, health agencies and the community sector.
“We must continue smoke free strategies to see the decline in smoking continue for the benefit of Queensland’s next generation.
“Cancer Council Queensland would welcome a generational phase-out in order to protect future generations from the harmful impacts of smoking and further reduce smoking rates.
“We have recommended the State Government commissions an independent community consultation process to canvass public sentiment on the proposal for a generational phase-out of smoking in the form of a complete ban on the sale of cigarettes to all children born after 2001. We also wish to see a complete ban on smoking in the presence of children.
“Smoking is one of the most serious threats to community health and the wellbeing of our next generation.”
On September 1, Queensland introduced a ban on 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 will now also be required to butt out at popular visitor areas such as picnic, barbecue sites and camping grounds in National Parks from February 1, 2017.
“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,” Ms Border said.
“However, more than 800,000 adults still reported being frequently exposed to second-hand smoke in public places.
“We’re dedicated to advocating for more tobacco control initiatives to help further reduce smoking rates, reduce the risk of second hand smoke, and ultimately save more lives.
Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848).
For more information or interviews, please contact: