Queensland one step closer to smoke free spaces

Uniform statewide smoke free spaces are one step closer for Queensland, following a Parliamentary Committee’s recommendation in response to calls from Cancer Council Queensland.

Queensland Parliament’s Health and Community Services Committee handed down its report last Tuesday, recommending statewide smoking bans at public transport waiting points and pedestrian malls.

Yesterday, the Health Minister agreed councils had been slow to use their powers to ban smoking, and confirmed he would consider the proposal for smoke free spaces in State legislation.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift commended the Parliamentary Committee for its action to protect the public from harm.

“Smoke free spaces will protect people from the harmful effects of smoking, encourage more smokers to quit, and prevent more young people from taking up this lethal habit,” Ms Clift said.

“Government action on smoking has been strong, but smoke free spaces are desperately needed, and we have urged the State Government to act quickly.

“We also welcome the Committee’s recommendation that the Department of Health consider extending existing and proposed smoking bans to outdoor areas frequented by the public, including, for example, TAFE colleges.

“One in four Queensland cancer deaths are caused by smoking – we urgently need smoke free spaces to curb this tragic death toll on our community.”

10 Queenslanders die every day from smoking-related illness and disease. Around one death a day is caused by second-hand smoke alone.

Yesterday, Health Minister Lawrence Springborg confirmed he was very open to statewide smoking bans.

“We commend the Minister for his leadership on this issue, and supporting the need for better tobacco control across Queensland,” Ms Clift said.

“10 deaths every day is a tragic figure that dwarfs other causes of preventable and premature deaths.

“We know that the majority of Queenslanders support smoke free spaces and want protection from the lethal effects of smoking.

“Community support for smoke free spaces is higher than ever, with majority non-smokers and 14 per cent of the adult population smoking daily.

“This is a strong next step to protect the people of Queensland – we thank the Parliamentary Committee for their action and a breath of fresh air for the state.”

Currently, there are 500,000 adult smokers in Queensland.

Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848), or join the QUEST to quit at quest.org.au.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via 13 11 20 or cancerqld.org.au.

For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland
Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171