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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    JOINT STATEMENT
    Premier
    The Honourable Anna Bligh
    Minister for Health
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    BLIGH GOVT TOUGHENS ANTI-SMOKING LEGISLATION

    JOINT STATEMENT

    Premier
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Minister for Health
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Monday, May 26, 2008

    BLIGH GOVT TOUGHENS ANTI-SMOKING LEGISLATION

    Townsville: Queensland will further stamp itself as having the toughest anti-smoking regime in Australia by banning smoking in cars carrying children and granting councils the power to regulate smoking in malls and bus stops.

    Premier Anna Bligh today said Cabinet had agreed on the reforms following strong public support for Queensland’s smoke-free laws to go even further.

    Health Minister Stephen Robertson will soon introduce amendments to the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998 and will also push for a nationwide ban on smoking in high roller casino rooms.

    “Passive smoking remains public enemy number one in our new changes,” Ms Bligh said.

    “Queensland now enjoys a national reputation as the best smoke-free environment.

    “It’s why thousands of overseas and interstate visitors every year enjoy dining at our restaurants, watching the footy at our stadiums, hitting our patrolled beaches and having a few sips at our pubs and clubs.

    “But I agree with the overwhelming majority of Queenslanders – we can go further and we will.

    “There are still public spaces throughout Queensland that smokers and non-smokers alike must share, namely shopping malls and public transports waiting areas such as bus stops.

    “My Government has a responsibility to protect those not wanting to inhale cigarette smoke in these areas but every city and town is different and the most practical way of enforcement is for local government to have responsibility.

    “They can decide whether it’s a problem in their region and act accordingly.

    “For instance, Queen Street Mall in Brisbane has been cited repeatedly in public submissions when we invited feedback on the legislation but others haven’t attracted criticism. That’s why bans should be left up to councils.”

    Mr Robertson said the death toll from tobacco smoking was still too high.

    “More than 3,400 Queenslanders die each year as a result of smoking – that’s nearly 10 times the road toll,” Mr Robertson said.

    “Smoking-related hospital admissions in Queensland costs more than $217 million per annum – that’s a massive burden on our health system.”

    Mr Robertson said most drivers travelling with children were parents of which the overwhelming majority did the right thing, however some would require legislative incentive.

    “A very recent study showed that exposure to tobacco smoke in cars significantly increases health risks for children,” he said.

    “Risks to children from exposure to passive smoking include bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, ear infections, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

    “When these bans come into force, police will have the power to issue a $150 on-the-spot fine to any adult smoking while a child under the age of 16 is present in the vehicle. In South Australia, the fine is $75.

    “Police will use Infringement Notices the same way they enforce bans on mobile phones while driving.”

    Mr Robertson said he would also propose a nationwide ban on smoking in casino high roller rooms at the Australian Health Ministers Council.

    “Any ban must be done nationally so as not to disadvantage any jurisdiction.”

    Queensland Health released a discussion paper on smoking legislation from October 2007 to January 2008.

    Of the 588 submissions received by the general public, 89% called for a ban on smoking in cars carrying children, 78% supported local government being granted the power to ban smoking in malls 81% supported local government being granted the power to ban smoking at public transport waiting points.

    To learn more about Queensland’s anti-smoking legislation visit
    http://www.health.qld.gov.au/atods/tobaccolaws.


    Fines issued by Population Health Unit since 1 January 2005*

    Offence type Total fines issued
    Tobacco retailing offences 459
    A person smoking within 4 metres of non-residential building entrance 305
    A person smoking at a major sports facility 316
    A person smoking in an enclosed place (licensed and non-licensed) 137
    A person smoking at an outdoor eating or drinking place 140
    A person smoking within 10 metres of outdoor children’s playground equipment 25
    A person smoking at a patrolled beach 14
    A person producing, selling or publicly displaying an ice-pipe or cannabis utensil or component thereof 26
    Failure of a licensee to display a no smoking sign 17
    Person smoking at a prescribed outdoor swimming area 1
    Offence by an occupier, allowing a person to smoke in an enclosed place 2
    TOTAL 1442

    Media contact: Minister’s Office: 3234 1190