Almost one Queenslander will die every day from inhaling tobacco smoke, without ever having smoked a cigarette in their life.
Cancer Council Queensland has today renewed its call for the State Government to fast-track new laws creating designated smoke free public spaces across the state – to save Queensland lives.
The call follows the announcement by Health Minister Lawrence Springborg of a ban on smoking at school gates and within five metres of all hospitals.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Professor Jeff Dunn commended the Minister for bringing in the new bans, but urged the State Government to take stronger action on smoking to promote public health.
“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,” Prof Dunn said.
“We urgently need statewide smoke free places at bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals, and pedestrian malls.
“There is no safe level of smoking or passive smoking, and we have written to all Members of Parliament calling again on the State Government to create a smoke free future for Queensland.
“We know that most smokers want to quit, and each year about 10,000 of them are successful in Queensland – but many more would quit if the State Government would introduce statewide laws creating smoke free spaces.
“Smoking is estimated to cost the Queensland economy more than $6 billion each year, causing 3,422 deaths and resulting in over 35,000 hospitalisations.”
One in five men and one in 10 women die each year in Queensland of smoking-related illness and disease, and 46 per cent of these are people under the age of 75.
“Community support for smoke free spaces is higher than ever, with majority non-smokers and fewer than 15 per cent of the adult population smoking daily,” Prof Dunn said.
“We call on the State Government to deliver on its commitment to protect the health of all Queenslanders by fast-tracking the creation of smoke free bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals, and pedestrian malls.
“Under laws passed in 2009, the State Government gave local councils the power to implement designated smoke free public places, a move that has proven ineffective.”
It’s estimated around 3000 Queenslanders will die from a tobacco-related disease each year. About 300 of these deaths are caused by second-hand smoke exposure.
Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848), or join the QUEST to quit at www.quest.org.au.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at www.cancerqld.org.au or Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.
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