Smokes now a no-go in national parks
THINKING about lighting up a smoke while camping? Think again.
Campsites, barbecues, picnic areas, boat ramps and visitor information centres in national parks are now smoke free, with new laws taking effect in Queensland today.
From February 1 2017, smoking is banned in Queensland national parks within 10 metres of in-use campsites and any public facility, including toilet blocks, shelters and picnic tables.
Cancer Council Queensland spokeswoman Katie Clift said the new laws would protect locals and tourists from the dangers of second-hand smoke.
"These new laws ensure picnic areas, barbecue facilities, shelters, jetties, toilet blocks - all public facilities within a national park - are now smoke free,” Ms Clift said.
"Locals and tourists can now enjoy our state's national parks in the world's freshest air, free from the harm of second-hand smoke.
"The bans will also encourage existing smokers to quit, and discourage young people from taking up the habit in the first place.
Ms Clift said the new bans follow laws introduced in September 2016, giving Queensland the most advanced smoke free laws of any jurisdiction in the world.
"Smoking is banned at all public transport waiting points, pedestrian malls, aged-care facilities and at or near children's organised sporting events and skate parks in Queensland,” she said.
"At least one Queenslander will die every week from second-hand smoke exposure - having never smoked a cigarette in their life.
"We applaud the Queensland Government for its leadership on creating a smoke free future for all Queenslanders.
"These laws ensure that the spaces where we work and play are free from the scourge of smoking.”
About 12 per cent of Queensland adults smoke daily - down from 14 per cent in 2014 - with the majority of smokers wanting to quit.
Cancer Council has called on the Government to continue smoke free strategies to see the decline in smoking rates continue, for the benefit of Queensland's next generation.
"Cancer Council would welcome a generational phase-out in order to protect future generations from the harmful impacts of smoking and further reduce smoking rates,” Ms Clift said.
"We have recommended the State Government commission an independent community consultation process to canvass public sentiment on the proposal for a generational phase-out in the form of a complete ban on the sale of cigarettes to all children born after 2001.
"We also wish to see a complete ban on smoking in the presence of children.
"Smoking is one of the most serious threats to community health and the wellbeing of our next generation, and we need to do all we can to protect people from preventable harms.”
Around 3700 Queenslanders die from a tobacco-related disease each year.
About 370 of these deaths are caused by second-hand smoke exposure.
Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848).
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at www.cancerqld.org.au or Cancer Council's 13 11 20.