Up in smoke
Second-hand smoke is endangering the lives of Queenslanders.
Smokers across Queensland have ignored warnings and endangered others by lighting up in smoke-free zones.
More than 125 fines were issued to smokers who exposed others to tobacco smoke in smoke-free zones including bus stops, ferry terminals, taxi ranks and building entrances in FY18.
An additional 141 fines were issued from July 2018 - March 2019 to people caught smoking in a vehicle with children present.
The fines come after $104,000 worth of penalties were issued in 2017 to Queenslanders who were caught illegally smoking in public places.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Chris McMillan said the evidence that second-hand smoke can kill is undeniable.
“At least one Queenslander dies every week from exposure to smoke drift, without ever having smoked a cigarette in their life,” Ms McMillan said.
“Now is the time to take tougher action against the scourge of smoking, to protect our next generation from the deadly impacts of tobacco.”
Executive Director of Queensland Health’s Preventative Health Branch Kaye Pulsford said research indicated that there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.
“Non-smokers exposed to tobacco smoke have a 20–30% higher risk of developing lung cancer when compared with non-smokers who have not been exposed,” Ms Pulsford said.
“Smokers say they are considerate, well, prove it. Don’t litter the environment with your butts and don’t light up where the smoke will impact others.”
Ms Pulsford said the number of smokers caught lighting up with children in their vehicle was particularly disturbing.
“I just can’t understand why a caring, responsible adult would smoke inside the confines of a vehicle with a child on board,” she said.
“Babies and children exposed to tobacco smoke are at serious risk of SIDS, bronchitis, pneumonia and other lung or airway infections, middle ear disease (glue ear) and asthma.”
Smoking bans are in effect across Queensland and cover a range of public places where adults and children frequent. A full list of smoke-free zones can be found here.
If you would like to quit smoking, the Queensland government has a range of initiatives available. You can also contact Quitline on 13 78 48.