‘Beef up smok­ing ban laws’

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - EX­CLU­SIVE KARA VICK­ERY

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.”

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