Smoke in their faces: Queensland kids facing future disease

Cancer Council is warning against the severe dangers of second and third-hand smoke, with new research* showing nearly 10 per cent of Queensland adults allow smoking in their cars, and 25 per cent live in a household with a current smoker.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said second and third-hand smoke exposure could cause cancer and other deadly illnesses and disease.

“Research shows third-hand smoke is widespread in indoor environments affected by second-hand smoke, exposing Queensland children and families to significant health risks,” Ms Clift said.

“The number of adults in Queensland who smoke in their cars and homes is a serious concern, endangering the health of their loved ones.

“The 4000 chemicals in second-hand smoke linger long after cigarettes are stubbed out, sticking to surfaces and threatening to damage human DNA in a way that can potentially cause cancer.

“Third-hand smoke can be found in cars, units and homes – anywhere that smoking takes place in an enclosed space. It can even stick to the hair and skin of smokers.”

New figures show around 14 per cent of the adult population in Queensland smoke daily, averaging 114 cigarettes per person per week.

Smoking in the home was nearly five times higher in disadvantaged areas compared to advantaged areas of Queensland.

Men were 65 per cent more likely than women to smoke in their cars; people aged 18 to 24 had the highest rate of smoking in cars of all age groups; and rates were significantly higher in remote areas.

“Exposure to passive smoke raises a person’s risk of heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory conditions, and can cause asthma, SIDS and allergic respiratory diseases in children,” Ms Clift said.

“This is a very serious issue – we need to do all we can to support locals to quit smoking for their personal health, and the health of their loved ones.

“We would welcome action by the State Government to introduce designated smoke free spaces across Queensland, and to ban smoking in cars.

“Smoke free bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals, and pedestrian malls will provide the public with a breath of fresh air.”

Currently 500,000 Queensland adults are smokers.

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

Third-hand smoke occurs when second-hand smoke reacts with indoor air, lingering in homes and cars, on curtains, floors, clothing, dust and toys for months after active smoking occurs.

Encourage your workplace, school, sports club, early childhood centre or local council to promote smoke-free initiatives by joining QUEST for free at

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

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

*Self reported health status 2013, Preventive health indicators, Queensland, Hospital and Health Services and Medicare Locals summary report.