Three Queensland health organisations have joined forces to help combat smoking across the state, and clear the air for thousands of Queenslanders impacted by second-hand-smoke.
Cancer Council Queensland, Heart Foundation and Asthma Foundation have today launched a statewide survey on smoking, giving Queenslanders the opportunity to have their say about smoke-free places and tobacco control.
The survey will gauge support on current tobacco laws and identify additional areas the community would like to see smoke-free, including outdoor public areas and multi-unit housing.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan urged Queenslanders to speak up and have their say to help health organisations advocate for stronger smoke-free laws across the State.
“While Queensland’s smoke-free laws are some of the toughest in the country, we still have a long way to go to protect our communities from the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke,” Ms McMillan said.
“Tobacco is having a detrimental effect on the health of our state, those who smoke or are exposed to second-hand smoke are at a much greater risk of developing chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancers, and those with asthma can experience worsening symptoms.
“Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Australia. In Queensland alone around 3700 people die from a tobacco-related disease each year and two per cent of those deaths are caused by second-hand smoke exposure.
“This survey will give the public a voice to help advocate for stronger tobacco legislation reforms through the extension of statewide smoke-free places in Queensland.”
Ms McMillan said the health organisations wanted to hear from all Queenslanders – aged 18 and over – current smokers, ex-smokers, and those who have never smoked, about their views on current and future smoke-free places.
Heart Foundation CEO Stephen Vines said breathing in second-hand smoke on a regular basis could increase an individual’s risk of heart disease by around 30 per cent.
“We want Queenslanders to be able to go about their everyday activities without being exposed to second-hand smoke which can cause heart disease,” Mr Vines said.
“Smoke-free laws give people the freedom to go to work, study and do other daily activities like walking or playing sport, without being exposed to second-hand smoke.”
Asthma Foundation CEO Dr Peter Anderson also voiced his support for stronger smoke-free laws to protect all Queenslanders, including children.
“People with asthma who are exposed to second-hand smoke are at a significantly increased risk of needing emergency medical care due to a rapid deterioration in their condition,” Dr Anderson said.
“We encourage Queenslanders to complete this important survey and tell us what areas should be smoke-free to enable them to live a healthy life, without the burden of exposure to second hand smoke.”
Queenslanders aged 18 and over can complete the survey, Smoke-free Places Survey Queensland, at www.cancerqld.org.au/smokefreeplacessurvey by October 16.
Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848).