- Posted July 14, 2015 by
Queensland Considers Smoking Ban
This week the Queensland parliament will consider a proposal to ban smoking at public places like bus stops, pools and skate parks. The proposal also advocates banning the sale of cigarettes at music festivals.
Mark McArdle, the opposition's health spokesman, will introduce the bill. The purpose is to discourage youngsters from making the deadly transition from becoming “experimental” to “regular” smokers.
McArdle said, “With half of all long-term smokers dying prematurely, we should be doing more to discourage first-time smokers from lighting up.”
Cancer Council Queensland is in favor of the plan. According to the council, this will prohibit smoking in public places where the local councils have failed to act.
The proposed changes to the Tobacco Act will include a ban on smoking within five meters of government buildings. The buildings include the parliament, public service bodies, government departments and courts, although e-cigarettes are exemplt which some argue is safer according to research.
The ban's enforcement will include waiting points for public transport systems and pedestrian malls. According to McArdle, this kind of ban will provide a consistent message about passive smoking.
McArdle also said that the smoking ban will bring Queensland “in line with every other Australian state.”
Katie Clift, Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson, said that these changes will affect "generational smoking." There will also be a significant reduction in exposure to second-hand smoke.
Cameron Dick, a spokesman for the health minister, said that the government has not yet received details of the proposed bill. He said, “In principle, we are strong advocates of less smoking.” However, issues of “legal jurisdiction” make it all very complex.
Clift has noted that local councils have “failed to embrace” their power to ban public smoking. In 2009, Bligh Labor government had given local councils authority to enforce smoking bans.
Clift also mentioned that this failure has occurred even though community backing for such bans is at its highest. Currently, less than 20 percent of the state's total adult population smokes daily.
According to statistics, at least one person dies every year due to passive smoking.
Smoking is a heavy drain on Queensland's economy costing more than $ 6 billion every year. It also leads to more than 35,000 hospitalizations and 3,700 deaths.