Cancer Council has welcomed the Queensland Government’s independent review of State property laws to canvas options for regulating smoking in multi-unit residential lots.
The review follows stakeholder meetings identifying smoking and smoke drift between lots as a major concern of residents in apartments and units.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said community input ahead of the January 30 review deadline would be critical.
“Almost one life is lost every day in Queensland due to second-hand smoke exposure,” Ms Clift said.
“Smoke drift from apartments and townhouses is a proven threat to human health – inhaling tobacco smoke can increase a person’s risk of developing lung cancer by 30 per cent.
“Chemicals from second-hand smoke stick to curtains, dust, clothing, toys and floors – and can remain in a home on surfaces for months after active smoking or smoke drift occurs.
“Research shows many of the more than 4000 chemicals in second-hand smoke linger long after cigarettes are put out, sticking to surfaces and damaging human DNA in a way that can potentially cause cancer.
“We urge all Queenslanders to voice their concerns by making a submission to the review.”
Around 3700 Queenslanders will die from a tobacco-related disease each year, with an estimated 300 deaths caused by second-hand smoke exposure.
“Queenslanders are invited to have their say in the property law review paper Body Corporate Governance Options,” Ms Clift said.
“Written submissions in response to the consultation paper are open until 30 January 2015 at justice.qld.gov.au.”
Currently 500,000 Queensland adults are smokers.
“In many buildings, odours from neighbouring lots often affect the residents in adjacent lots. If a resident or guest smokes in their lot or on their balcony, the second-hand smoke may enter other units,” Ms Clift said.
“This is particularly an issue in residential buildings where the living areas of each lot are in close proximity. A similar issue arises where townhouses on standard format plans are closely constructed or contiguous.
“Public tolerance of smoking has been steadily declining for years. In Queensland in 2005, smoking was banned anywhere within four metres of an entrance to a non-residential building, at sporting stadiums, outdoor eating and drinking areas and near outdoor children’s playground equipment.
In 2010, smoking was banned in cars carrying children under 16 years old. In 2011, the Brisbane City Council banned smoking in the Queen Street Mall and Health Minister Lawrence Springborg recently announced further restrictions relating to smoking around hospitals and at schools.
“While community tolerance of smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke has been declining, residents in apartment buildings and townhouses need greater protection against potentially lethal smoke drifting from a neighbouring lot or balcony,” she said.
Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848).
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.
Queenslanders can encourage their workplace, school, sports club, early childhood centre or local council to promote smoke-free initiatives by joining QUEST for free at quest.org.au.
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland