Latest way smokers are being caught out

HUNDREDS of Queensland smokers are being fined every year for endangering other people's health, including children, by ignoring the state's strict smoking laws.

They face on-the-spot fines of $266 if caught, but Queensland Health's Kaye Pulsford said the bigger penalty should be living with a guilty conscience.

Ms Pulsford, the executive director of the department's preventative health branch, yesterday implored smokers to stub out in smoke-free zones, such as within 5m of public transport waiting points, including taxi ranks, ferry terminals, train stations and bus stops.

 

Hundreds of Queensland smokers are being fined every year for endangering lives, including children, by ignoring smoking laws.
Hundreds of Queensland smokers are being fined every year for endangering lives, including children, by ignoring smoking laws.

She also called on Queenslanders to dob in smokers who frequently broke the rules and lit up in cigarette no-go areas, such as entrances to businesses, near children's playground equipment and pedestrian malls.

On average, Queensland police issue 15 on-the-spot fines a month to people seen smoking in cars with children aged under 16 inside.

And last financial year, environmental health officers dished out 125 fines to smokers lighting up in smoke-free zones.

"How can a caring, considerate, loving adult smoke inside a very confined space with a child under 16 inside? What are they thinking?" Ms Pulsford said.

"This is not about whether they smoke - I understand the horrible nature of this addiction.

"It's about where they smoke and its potential to impact on other people.

"There's no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.

"Babies and children exposed to tobacco smoke are at serious risk of sudden infant death syndrome, bronchitis, pneumonia and other lung or airway infections, middle ear disease and asthma."

 

 

Ms Pulsford said non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke at home increased their risk of developing heart disease by up to 30 per cent.

They were also at increased risk of lung cancer compared to non-smokers who had never been subjected to tobacco smoke at home.

She was backed by Cancer Council Queensland CEO Chris McMillan, who said at least one Queenslander died every week from exposure to smoke drift without ever having smoked a cigarette in their life.

"The evidence is undeniable - second-hand smoke kills," Ms McMillan said.

Queenslanders can report people who flagrantly breach anti-smoking rules by phoning 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

Ms Pulsford said Queensland Health offered a range of initiatives to help people quit smoking through Quitline on 13 78 48.

"No matter who you are, or how long you've been smoking, it's never too late to become healthier and happier without cigarettes," Ms Pulsford said.