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Queenslanders invited to comment on overhaul of smoking laws

Queenslanders are invited to provide feedback on proposed reforms to the state’s anti-smoking laws.

The invitation, coinciding with today’s World No Tobacco Day, seeks opinions on proposals such as stronger enforcement action on illicit tobacco sale and supply, the introduction of a licensing scheme for the sale of tobacco and e-cigarettes, tougher restrictions on cigarette machines in licensed venues and expansion of smoke-free areas.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath said that Queensland had some of the strongest tobacco laws in the world.

“In the past 20 years, we’ve seen the rate of smoking halve in Queensland, but there is more work to be done,” Ms D’Ath said.

“Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Queensland, so that’s why the Palaszczuk Government is delivering on our commitment to strengthen our anti-smoking efforts even further.

“We’re listening to small business stakeholders, especially when it comes to stamping out illicit product.

“We want to hear from Queenslanders, including small businesses, and we’ll advance our package of reforms based on the feedback to our Regulatory Impact Statement for introduction into the Queensland Parliament.

“We would like to see relevant authorities given additional enforcement powers to target the illegal tobacco industry.

“Right now, we know that there are challenges when it comes to coordinating a response to illegal operations across multiple agencies including state and Commonwealth bodies.

“That’s why we’re taking this important step to ensure that illicit operators know that there’s nowhere to hide, and they’ll be caught if they do the wrong thing.”

Importantly, the measures include further steps to reduce the chances of young adults taking up smoking or vaping. The proposed reforms target all smoking products, including e-cigarettes.

Key proposals include creating a licensing scheme for smoking product retailers and wholesalers, prohibiting retail workers aged under 18 from selling smoking products, allowing health authorities to take direct action on illicit tobacco in partnership with other government agencies, and moving cigarette vending machines to behind the counter at pubs and clubs.

The reforms also propose banning smoking in carparks provided for school community use, at outdoor markets and under-18 organised recreational events.

They would also prohibit children from entering designated outdoor smoking areas (DOSAs) at licensed venues and prevent people from drinking in DOSAs.

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Key smoking facts

  • Smoking accounted for 66,400 hospitalisations and about 12% of all deaths (4000 deaths) in Queensland in 2015-16.
  • Smoking-related illness causes half of all deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 45 and a third of deaths in this population in total.
  • Since 2002, the proportion of Queensland adults smoking daily has almost halved. In 2020, 10% of adults said they smoked daily, a decrease from 11% in 2018.
  • 5.5% cent of adult Queenslanders were current, but not daily smokers, 27% were former smokers and 57% had never smoked.
  • The smoking rate for people aged 12-17 years is 6.9%.
  • 16% of Queensland secondary school students reported that they had used e-cigarettes.
  • The cost to the Queensland community is estimated at $27 billion a year. This estimate includes tangible costs such as premature death, hospitalisations and other medical and social costs, and intangible costs such as value of life lost, pain and suffering.
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