‘Beef up smoking ban laws’
THREE health charities are calling for Queensland’s already-tough smoking laws to be extended, as a new survey reveals widespread public support for bans at universities, markets and town squares.
The survey of 2600 Queensland adults, released today, will show 76 per cent of participants reported being exposed to second-hand smoke in public places every week.
The poll by Cancer Council Queensland, The Heart Foundation, and Asthma Australia revealed broad support for banning smoking at markets (93 per cent), tertiary education facilities (92 per cent) and town squares (91 per cent) – prompting calls for changes to the state’s laws.
New laws banning smoking near national park campsites were introduced this year, following restrictions introduced in 2016 that included smoking near public transport stops, kindergartens and public swimming pools.
But CCQ chief executive Chris McMillan wants the next state government to do more.
“While Queensland’s smoke-free laws are some of the toughest in the country, we still have a long way to go to protect our communities from the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke,” she said.
Two-thirds of survey participants also reported witnessing people flouting the law by smoking in areas where it was banned. Heart Foundation Queensland chief executive Stephen Vines said this showed the laws must be “backed up” with compliance measures.
Asthma Australia chief executive Michele Goldman said: “Asthma Australia calls for stronger tobacco legislation reforms in regard to smokefree environments to protect the one in nine people with asthma from unnecessary symptoms, or worse.”
A Labor spokeswoman said the Palaszczuk Government had given local governments the power to ban smoking in any public place, including town squares and markets, and said two Brisbane universities had been assisted to become smoke-free. But Ms McMillan said the rules needed to be consistent across the state.
LNP health spokesman John-Paul Langbroek said: “The LNP will work with our health sector to reduce the incidence of smoking and improve the health of all Queenslanders wherever they are.”