THE Queensland Government has been asked to urgently introduce smoke free public places, with new research showing two in three Australian smokers will die from the habit.
Rates of death for current smokers are three times higher than those of non-smokers, prompting Cancer Council Queensland to renew its calls for smoke free public places.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said despite a decline in prevalence over recent years, more could be done to encourage smokers to quit.
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“Smoking rates in Queensland have halved over the past 25 years – but there are still 500,000 adult smokers in our State risking a premature and preventable death,” Ms Clift said.
“The research* shows current smokers will die an average of 10 years earlier than non-smokers, with mortality risks increasing substantially the more a person smokes.
“Death rates nearly double for Australians who smoke around 10 cigarettes a day, and are four to five times higher among smokers who smoke 25 or more cigarettes a day, compared to non-smokers.
“We urgently need State law to encourage more smokers to quit and protect all Queenslanders from the harmful effects of tobacco, by making bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals, pedestrian malls, and all education campuses smoke free.”
Ms Clift said community support for smoke free places was higher than it has ever been.
“We know that the majority of Queenslanders support smoke free spaces and want protection from the lethal effects of smoking,” Ms Clift said.
“Smoking is estimated to cost the Queensland economy more than $6 billion each year, causing more than 3,700 deaths and resulting in over 36,000 hospitalisations.
“Of serious concern, smoking-related illness and disease is responsible for one in five male deaths and one in 10 female deaths in Queensland each year, and 46 per cent of these are people younger than 75 years of age.
“One in 10 people who die from smoking-related diseases have never smoked themselves.
“Community support for smoke free spaces is higher than ever, with majority non-smokers and 14 per cent of the adult population smoking daily.”
Smokers are urged to call the Quitline on 13 QUIT (13 7848) for help with quitting.