Smoke drift from balconies high on Queensland agenda

Cancer Council Queensland has renewed calls for tougher regulation of smoking in multi-unit dwellings, following a move by the Obama administration to ban smoking in US public housing developments.

The call supports new Cancer Council research that found 70 per cent of Queenslanders support a total ban on smoking in multi-unit dwellings, including balconies.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said half of all Queenslanders living in multi-unit dwellings were affected by smoke drift, and 55 per cent were extremely concerned about the health risks.

“Second-hand smoke kills – one Queenslander dies every week from exposure to passive smoke, without ever having smoking a cigarette in their life,” Ms Clift said.

“Cancer Council is responding to calls from the community to see a ban on smoking in multi-unit dwellings – including apartments, units, boarding houses and hostels.

“Our concern is particularly high for children and socio-economically disadvantaged Queenslanders affected by high rates of smoking, and second and third-hand smoke.

“One in four Queensland children lived in a household with a current smoker in 2015-2016, and in many cases will be exposed to second-hand smoke regularly.

“Chemicals from second-hand smoke stick to curtains, dust, clothing and floors – and can remain in a home on surfaces for months after active smoking occurs.

“Health risks are widespread in indoor environments affected by second-hand smoke, leaving Queensland families with potentially huge health risks.”

Cancer Council holds concern for disadvantaged communities, with rates of daily smoking about three times higher among adults than those in advantaged areas.

“Children living in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas are also more than two times more likely to be living in a household with a smoker than those in advantaged areas,” Ms Clift said.

“We have a responsibility to urgently protect our community from the harmful dangers of second and third-hand smoke.

“Queensland is leading the world with the most progressive laws on smoking – we need to continue our strong work in tobacco control by including multi-unit dwellings and balconies.”

Cancer Council Queensland has written to Queensland’s Attorney-General recommending urgent regulation of smoking in multi-unit dwellings, calling for expedition of a protracted review into the Body Corporate and Community Management Act.

Around 3700 Queenslanders die from a tobacco-related disease each year. One in eight Queensland adults smoke daily.

Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848).

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at or Cancer Council’s 13 11 20.

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