I am
Qld election: Health bodies push to stamp out second-hand smoke in CBDs, unit blocks
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Qld election: Health bodies push to stamp out second-hand smoke in CBDs, unit blocks

Media Release - 8 October 2020

Leading health organisations are urging the incoming Queensland government to ban smoking in city centres across the Sunshine State and introduce laws to manage smoke-drift at unit blocks.

As this month’s state election draws near, the Heart Foundation and Cancer Council Queensland are calling for more smoke-free places and tougher tobacco retail laws to further protect the public from second-hand smoke and cut smoking rates.

Queensland Health figures show one in nine adults smokes daily, with smoking rates climbing past this state average in many regional areas (see table with local statistics below).

Heart Foundation Queensland CEO, Stephen Vines, says stronger smoke-free laws will help keep people healthy in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

Smoking damages your heart as well as your lungs, and exposure to second-hand smoke raises the risk of heart disease by about 30%. Early evidence suggests people who smoke may also be more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, and to experiencing more severe illness from the virus.

“Heart disease remains our single biggest killer, and stronger laws to tackle tobacco will be a key part of protecting Queenslanders’ heart health,” Mr Vines said.

“Great progress has been made to protect Queenslanders from other people’s smoke, but there’s still work to be done. Making town centres smoke-free will help protect the public from second-hand smoke while encouraging smokers to kick the habit.”

Mr Vines said non-smokers were also being exposed to second-hand smoke while living in their own homes due to neighbours lighting up on balconies and in common areas at unit blocks. More than 350,000 Queenslanders live in apartments, representing almost 12% of all homes.

“People often have no power to change this situation. With more Queenslanders now likely to be working from home more often, it’s time to bring in legislation allowing a body corporate to pass its own enforceable by-laws to regulate smoking at apartment blocks.”

The health charities are calling for the next government to roll out a raft of measures, including: 

  • Banning smoking in city centres across the state;
  • Introducing laws to manage smoke-drift at unit blocks;
  • Phasing out designated outdoor smoking areas at pubs and clubs;
  • Banning under-18s from selling cigarettes;
  • Removing cigarette-vending machines from licensed venues;
  • Setting up a tobacco retail licensing scheme to monitor who is selling the drug; and
  • Banning smoking inside casino high-roller rooms.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said the organisations are calling for stronger tobacco legislation reforms through the extension of statewide smoke-free places in Queensland.

“It is vital that smoke-free legislation is supported through strong public communication and enforcement, and we would welcome further action in this area to maintain our smoke-free environments and protect our community,” said Ms McMillan. 

“Smoke-free laws give people the freedom to go to work, study and do other daily activities like walking or playing sport, without being exposed to second-hand smoke. 

“The majority of Queenslanders are now non-smokers, and studies of community attitudes towards smoking have found increasingly high levels of support for broadening restrictions on smoking in Queensland, due to growing awareness of the harms.” 

The Queensland state election is due to be held on 31 October.

People thinking about quitting smoking should speak with their doctor or call the Quitline on 13 78 48.

Smoking rates around the state

Percentage of adults who smoke daily, by Hospital and Health Service:

  • Central West – 20%
  • South West – 17%
  • Wide Bay – 16%
  • North West – 15%
  • Cairns and Hinterland – 15%
  • West Moreton – 15%
  • Mackay – 15%
  • Central Queensland – 14%
  • Torres and Cape – 13%
  • Townsville – 12%
  • Darling Downs – 12%
  • Queensland – 11%
  • Metro South – 11%
  • Gold Coast – 10%
  • Metro North – 10%
  • Sunshine Coast – 9%

Source: Report of the Chief Health Officer Queensland 2018

Media enquiries

Brigid Simeoni, Media Advisor, Heart Foundation
M: 0427 619 589 E: brigid.simeoni@heartfoundation.org.au

Brianna Burraston, Senior Public Relations Coordinator, Cancer Council Queensland
M: 0428 580 363 E: briannaburraston@cancerqld.org.au 

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Research Directory

Research Directory

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

The fundraising race where you set the pace. Run, jog or walk MyMarathon at your own pace during October....

Getting active at school

Getting active at school

Getting active at school

Physical activity resources for school staff....

24-hour Blood Pressure Monitoring

24-hour Blood Pressure Monitoring

Blood pressure monitoring at home using a 24-hour blood pressure monitor test....

Beef recipes

Beef recipes

Beef recipes

Find heart healthy beef recipes....

Christmas recipes

Christmas recipes

Christmas recipes

Find heart healthy festive recipes. ...

Moroccan spiced fish with couscous and raisin salad

Moroccan spiced fish with couscous and raisin salad

10 minutes
Serves 4

Action Plans

Action Plans

Action Plans

Recovery is a long journey, so having a plan makes a huge difference. Using an action plan gives you a step-by-step guide to improving your lifestyle....

What is a cardiac arrest?

What is a cardiac arrest?

What is a cardiac arrest?

With immediate help a cardiac arrest can be survived. Learn how to save a life....

Staying active for better heart health

Staying active for better heart health

Staying active for better heart health

Moving more every day is one of the best habits you can have....

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Information and resources for healthcare professionals....

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Full list of clinical guidlines and references for CVD, heart failure, ACS, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, SCAD and RHD...

Romesco Sauce

Romesco Sauce

Romesco Sauce

Serves Makes 350g | (Serves 8 – about 2 tablespoons - 44g)

Cheesy Mexican vegetable pie

Cheesy Mexican vegetable pie

Cheesy Mexican vegetable pie

1 hour
Serves 4

How to volunteer with us

How to volunteer with us

How to volunteer with us

Join our volunteers and make a difference to the heart health of Australians....

Sweet potato breakfast hash

Sweet potato breakfast hash

Sweet potato breakfast hash

15 minutes
Serves 2

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join our community of fundraisers who are committed to taking action to fight heart disease....

Our Annual Reports

Our Annual Reports

Our Annual Reports

Discover our Annual reports from 2013 onwards. ...

Mexican spice blend

Mexican spice blend

Mexican spice blend

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

The program works with local communities to help improve heart health in the Pilbara....

Hot oats – (base recipe)

Hot oats – (base recipe)

Hot oats – (base recipe)

10 minutes

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

What is acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease?

What is acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease?

What is acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease?

Rheumatic heart disease is a serious disease that causes damage to your heart valves. ...

Strawberry fields oats

Strawberry fields oats

Strawberry fields oats

10 minutes
Serves 2

Vegetarian recipes

Vegetarian recipes

Vegetarian recipes

Search through our vegetarian recipes...

Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance

Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance

Alliance with chronic disease prevention stakeholders...

What is coronary heart disease?

What is coronary heart disease?

What is coronary heart disease?

Coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease occurs when a coronary artery clogs and narrows because of a buildup of plaque....

Diabetes and heart disease

Diabetes and heart disease

Diabetes and heart disease

Diabetes is an ongoing health condition where your body’s usual ways of controlling your blood sugar, or blood glucose levels, don’t work properly. ...