Light a ciggy elsewhere
BUNDABERG could soon see more smoke-free areas under new laws being proposed by the State Government.
Childcare centres and organised children's sporting events as well as bus stops will be off limits to smokers with the move designed to restrict tobacco sales, reduce areas where smokers can light up and fight passive smoking.
Health Minister Cameron Dick said that while Queensland led Australia in laws to cut the harm caused by tobacco, more than 3700 Queenslanders still died each year as a result of smoking.
"Smoking, even second-hand smoke, is proven to cause cancer," Mr Dick said.
"That is why our government is taking strong action to support people who want to stop smoking, and to protect the rest of us who choose not to smoke."
As part of the proposal, local governments would have the power to transform any street or public space in their area not covered by state no-smoking laws into smoke-free zones.
A Bundaberg Regional Council spokesman said the council welcomed the announced State Government initiatives to extend controls on smoking which would improve the enjoyment of non-smokers using public spaces.
"In any consultation with the State Government on the extension of smoking laws the issue of enforcement and who pays for the policing of the new laws remains a prime topic of discussion."
The spokesman said while the council had the ability to enforce the smoking laws, it adopted a position similar to most regional councils across Queensland in leaving enforcement to Queensland Health.
"Councils across Queensland have done this because it would place significant additional financial pressure on council resources to enforce tobacco laws," he said.
"This, in turn, would become a cost for ratepayers to carry.
"I believe it is fair to suggest that while council is happy to play its role, the primary focus for public health matters should lay with state and federal governments."
The spokesman said it appeared most smokers were aware of their responsibilities when it came to smoking in public places and they generally adopted a mature approach to compliance.
The government will also ask the Parliamentary Health and Ambulance Services Committee to investigate licensing arrangements that affect the sale and use of tobacco in Queensland.
"Other states and territories license the supply of tobacco, and we want to see if a Queensland scheme could help reduce the prevalence of smoking," Mr Dick said.Some Bundaberg residents were in agreeance with the proposal, with Shop 85 owner Jason Emanuelli stating smoking should be kept out of the CBD.
"I agree that smoking should be stopped out the front of shops in Bourbong St and main streets anywhere. If it stays away from the front entrance of shops, that would be great," he said.
Noel Marshman said the government should leave the laws alone.
"Smoking is legal, I don't see why it should be banned anywhere in public places," he said.
Mr Dick said consultation on the proposed laws would begin with local government and key interest groups immediately.
Laws are currently being drafted, with introduction into Parliament planned for November.
Proposed changes to the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act will:
- Ban smoking at or near children's organised sporting events and skate parks
- Ban smoking in and around approved early childhood education and care services, including kindergartens and places offering after school hour care
- Ban smoking at all residential aged care facilities outside of designated areas
- Increase the smoke-free buffer at all government, commercial and non residential building entrances from four to five metres
- Ban smoking at pedestrian precincts around prescribed State Government buildings
- Ban smoking at specified national parks or parts of national parks, and at public swimming pools
- Ban smoking at all outdoor pedestrian malls and public transport waiting points
- Empower local government to ban smoking in any other public space
- Ban the sale of tobacco products from pop-up retail outlets, such as at music festivals