Cancer Council has encouraged Brisbane City Council to make King George Square smoke free, following the announcement that the space will now be classified as a mall.
Such a move would align the Square with Queen Street Mall, which has successfully been smoke free since 2011.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said a smoke free King George Square would protect the public from harmful exposure to second-hand smoke.
“10 Queenslanders die every day from smoking-related illness and disease,” Ms Clift said.
“We’re calling on both State and local governments to help us end the death toll.
“10 deaths every day is a tragic figure that dwarfs other causes of preventable and premature deaths.
“About one death a day is caused by second-hand smoking, a heartbreaking statistic that reinforces the need to protect people from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.
“Government action on smoking has been strong, but smoke free spaces are desperately needed.
“We know that the majority of Queenslanders support smoke free spaces and want protection from the lethal effects of smoking.”
Statistics suggest smoking rates in Queensland have halved over the past 25 years, a trend the Cancer Council attributes to Government actions.
“Historical declines in smoking rates are a credit to the leadership of Australian governments, with thanks to bans on smoking in pubs, clubs, and restaurants,” Ms Clift said.
“More recently, smoking has been further denormalised by retail display bans, a ban on smoking in cars carrying children, and no smoking outside school gates and on hospital grounds.”
However, Cancer Council Queensland has cautioned that much more needs to be done.
“The latest data has found a sharp increase in the prevalence of smoking among Queenslanders aged between 25 and 34 years old over the past two years.
“This trend defies the declines we have seen in other age groups, with 28 per cent of men in the 25-34 age bracket now smoking every day, compared with 19.8 per cent in 2012.
“Among women in the 25-34 age bracket, the rate of smoking has increased from 12.8 per cent to 16.7 per cent.
“If we don’t arrest this alarming trend, a significant number of young Queenslanders will have their lives cut short by smoking.”
Cancer Council Queensland has urgently called on the State Government to create statewide smoke free places at bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals, and pedestrian malls in State legislation.
“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,” Ms Clift said.
“We would welcome Brisbane City Council’s leadership on this issue.”
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.
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