Following controversial smoking laws passed earlier this year, further restrictions may see Queensland become the strictest Australian state when it comes to where you can and can’t smoke.
New regulations coming into effect today, will see smokers unable to light up in even more locations – building upon the previous restrictions put in place earlier this year; all in an effort to minimize the effect of second hand smoke on pedestrians and bystanders.
According to a statement made by Queensland Health, these new restrictions will ban smoking at amenities such as bus stops and taxi ranks, aged care facilities, public pedestrian malls, swimming pools, national parks and at, or near, children’s organised sporting events.
Violation of these new restrictions can land smokers with an on-the-spot warning or with a fine of over $240 if they don’t comply; businesses that provide food and drink that allow people to smoke in breach of the new restrictions, may find themselves fined up to $17,000.
Nurse, Clare Stephens welcomes the new restrictions hoping they can help ease the occurrence of health complications associated with second hand smoke.
“Research shows that young people are much less likely to take up smoking if their schools, homes and play areas are no-smoking areas.” Clare said.
“With these new laws in place, I believe its a step in the right direction to help stop the occurrence of health problems caused by second hand smoke.”
However, these new regulations are not without controversy, as many smokers feel they are being left out in the cold in the wake of the new restrictions.
Construction worker Renzo Neil has been smoking for over ten years, and feels the imposing restrictions are largely unnecessary.
” It’s just gone too far, soon we’ll be confined to our houses.” Renzo said.
“If we are in an open space with plenty of ventilation and a breeze, i just don’t see the problem with lighting up.”
Further restrictions are expected to be put in place, extending the compulsory no-smoking areas outside residential building areas to be expanded from five meters to ten.
From February 1 2017, smoking will also be banned within ten meters of in-use campsites and any public facilities such as picnic tables, toilet blocks, barbecues, visitor information centers, shelters, jetties and boat ramps.
As of September the new laws will;
- Ban smoking within five meters of public transport waiting spots, such as bus stops, taxi ranks and ferry ports
- Ban smoking within ten meters of playing and viewing areas during organized under-18 sporting events
- Ban Smoking within ten meters of skate parks
- Ban smoking within five metres of early childhood education and care services, including kindergartens and places offering after school hour care
- Ban smoking at all outdoor pedestrian malls
- Ban smoking within five meters of all residential aged care facilities, outside of designated areas
- Increase the smoke free buffer at all non-residential building entrances from four to five meters
- Ban smoking at pedestrian precincts around prescribed state government buildings
- Ban smoking at public swimming pool facilities
- Ban the sale of tobacco products from temporary retail outlets.
- Empower local government to ban smoking in any public space not covered by a state-wide smoking bans
To find out more about tobacco laws in Queensland you can visit Queensland Health.