The Queensland Government will this week introduce legislation to strengthen the state’s anti-smoking laws.
The new legislation will include increased enforcement action on the sale and supply of illicit tobacco, the introduction of a licensing scheme for tobacco sales, tougher restrictions on cigarette sales in licensed venues and the expansion of smoke-free areas.
The current framework in place to crack down on illegal operators requires participation from multiple agencies across different levels of government, and the new laws will aim to streamline the approach and establish Queensland Health as the lead agency for enforcement.
Although the adult smoking rate in Queensland has more than halved in the last 25 years, Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath said the reforms would go a step further.
“Too many people in Queensland die preventable deaths due to smoking,” Ms D’Ath said. “We’re delivering the reforms that stakeholders have said they need to be able to take further appropriate action to reduce smoking rates.”
Public Health Association of Australia CEO Adjunct Profession Terry Slevin said there was a common misconception that tobacco control was already “done”.
“It is not, and there is still more to do,” Mr Slevin said. “Proper controls on how this deadly product is sold, promoted and used are vital pieces of the puzzle.
“Second hand smoke is still a health issue. All states must step up to play their role in proper local regulation as well as enforcement of the rules.
“All of these reforms are essential as we drive down smoking rates, particularly among children.”
The Queensland Government last year sought feedback from Queenslanders on proposed reforms to anti-smoking laws. Other stakeholders that were turned to during the consultation period included small businesses, public health agencies, retailers and hospitality businesses.