Spirit of Ekka goes smoke free

Half-a-million show-goers are expected to benefit from a breath of fresh air at this year’s Royal Queensland Show, with the Ekka gates set to open for Queensland’s first smoke free exhibition.

Cancer Council Queensland has commended the RNA decision.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO, Professor Jeff Dunn AO, said the move was a significant step forward for cancer control.

“A smoke free Ekka is a great step towards a cancer free future for all Queenslanders,” Prof Dunn said.

“For the first time, Ekka patrons will be able to enjoy the Show’s mix of entertainment, agriculture and education in a totally smoke free setting, without the worry of second-hand smoke drift.

“At the same time, smokers will have another prompt to help quit the habit for good.”

Prof Dunn said he expected to see a high level of community support for the initiative, with fewer daily smokers today than at any time in history.

“We congratulate the Queensland Government and the RNA for their vision,” he said.

“Children in particular will benefit from a smoke free Ekka, enjoying protection from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.

“Current smokers also stand to gain from the initiative, enjoying freedom from an otherwise addictive habit in an atmosphere that is engaging.

“Ex-smokers will experience a relief from the reminders of smoking, enjoying a breath of fresh air.

“All in all, about half-a-million Ekka guests will have the opportunity to take part in ten days of smoke free show glamour, embracing Ekka’s rich history and its unique role in the life of Queenslanders across all generations.

“Today we are proud to play a part in creating the Spirit of a smoke free Ekka.

“Our hope is that other shows and exhibitions will follow in the Ekka’s footsteps.

“Australia is at a turning point in public health history, where Queensland has earned a reputation as one of the world’s leaders on tobacco control.

“Moves like this will help to end the tragic toll that cigarettes take on our lives each year.

“Smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in Queensland: two in three Queensland smokers will die from the habit; one-third of smokers will tragically die in middle age, losing at least 20 years of life; and current smokers will die an average of 10 years earlier than non-smokers, with mortality rates increasing substantially with the increased intensity of smoking.

“Our hope is that a smoke free Ekka will stop Queenslanders dying from smoking, so that they live to see their grandchildren and great grandchildren enjoy the Ekka for many years to come.”

Cancer Council Queensland has also asked the State Government to introduce smoke free public places at bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals, pedestrian malls, and education campuses.

Smokers are urged to call the Quitline on 13 QUIT (13 7848) for help with quitting.

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

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Kim Ryan, Senior Media Specialist, Cancer Council Queensland

Ph: (07) 3634 5239 M. 0488 015 702