THE Cancer Council has urged the Queensland Government to enforce a blanket ban on smoking in units and apartments ahead of the next State Election, following hundreds of community complaints on the issue.
The organisation’s submission to the Property Law Review recommends body corporates be given the power to enact smoke-free by-laws, including banning smoking completely, consistent with other Australian states.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan has called on the Government to provide Queenslanders with greater protection against the harms of smoke-drift in multi-unit dwellings.
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“It is essential that all people living in community titles schemes have appropriate and equal access to avenues for addressing smoke-drift,” Ms McMillan said.
“Among our recommendations to the review, we would like to see the Government empower body corporates to ban smoking completely, by majority vote.
“We have also recommended provision of a dispute resolution service in relation to complaints about smoke-drift, through the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management, in addition to funding for the promotion of smoke-free homes.
“All Queenslanders deserve smoke-free homes – which includes protecting members of the community living in units and apartments from smoke drift – and particularly children and young people.”
According to the Cancer Council, around 12 percent (one-in-eight) of Queensland adults smoke daily – down from 14 percent in 2014 – with the majority of smokers wanting to quit.
Approximately 3700 Queenslanders die from a tobacco-related disease each year and an estimated 200,000 Queensland children live in a home with a current smoker.
“There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. At least one Queenslander dies every week from passive smoking, having never smoked a cigarette in their life,” Ms McMillan said.
“Second-hand smoke causes lung cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke, nasal irritation and reproductive effects in women.
“In children, it causes middle ear disease, respiratory symptoms, impaired lung function, lower respiratory illness and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).”
The Cancer Council’s submission follows a statewide survey proving that Queenslanders want a full ban on smoking in the community.
“Now is the time to take tougher action against the scourge of smoking, to protect our next generation from the deadly impacts of tobacco,” Ms McMillan said.
“Our research shows 70 per cent of Queenslanders support a total ban on smoking in multi-unit dwellings, including balconies.
“Half of all respondents to our survey living in multi-unit dwellings are affected by smoke drift, and 55 per cent are extremely concerned about the health risks.
“Ensuring multi-unit dwellings are smoke-free involves a blanket ban on smoking, and educating residents about the importance of smoke-free homes.
“Smoke-free units and apartments will also encourage existing smokers to quit, and prevent the next generation from taking up the habit.”
“More broadly, we would welcome action by the State Government to consult with the community on a complete generational phase-out of smoking, as well as the introduction of a ban on smoking in the presence of children,” Ms McMillan said.
Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848).
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at cancerqld.org.au or Cancer Council’s 13 11 20.