Smokers are no longer able to light up within five metres of hospital grounds and school gates thanks to new laws that commenced in Queensland on 1 January 2015.
New Year’s Day also saw the start of a world-first law subjecting e-cigarettes to the same laws as traditional tobacco cigarettes in Queensland.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift commended the State Government for introducing the laws, set to save countless Queensland lives.
“These laws are an important step forward, strengthening the State’s action on tobacco control and preventing thousands of premature deaths from tobacco-related disease,” Ms Clift said.
“Banning smoking outside school gates will give parents peace of mind during school drop off and pick up, eliminating harmful exposure to second-hand smoke.
“Hospitals across the State will become healthier thanks to these new laws, giving visitors and patients a breath of fresh air during their stay.
“We are especially proud that Queensland is leading the world with its regulations on e-cigarettes – the new laws prevent them from being sold to children or used in indoor or outdoor public places, and ensure no promotion or advertisement of the products in retail outlets.
“E-cigarettes are a significant threat to public health – no e-cigarette has been tested for quality, safety or performance by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
“There is a lack of long-term scientific evidence to support the safety of e-cigarettes, and it’s a serious concern their use could lead to nicotine addiction and the uptake of tobacco smoking among young people.”
Cancer Council Queensland is continuing to urge the State Government to introduce smoke free spaces in State legislation, to further protect the public from harm.
“Smoke free spaces at bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminal and pedestrian malls will encourage more smokers to quit, prevent young people from taking up the habit and protect the community from harmful second-hand smoke inhalation,” Ms Clift said.
“We know that the majority of Queenslanders support smoke free spaces and want protection from the lethal effects of smoking.
“We have made great strides towards a smoke free Queensland, with smoking rates declining 26 per cent in the past decade, but we urgently need designated statewide smoke free spaces to continue our progress.”
Currently 500,000 Queensland adults are smokers.
Around 3700 Queenslanders will die from a tobacco-related disease each year, with an estimated 300 deaths caused by second-hand smoke exposure.
Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848).
Encourage your workplace, school, sports club, early childhood centre or local council to promote smoke-free initiatives by joining QUEST for free at www.quest.org.au.
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland