Queenslanders cough up $104,000 in smoking fines
Around 400 fines were dished out last financial year to smokers who decided to light up in Queensland smoke-free zones, including bus stops, taxi ranks and ferry terminals.
A caution or on the spot fine of $261 is issued to people who breach a smoking ban.
Executive Director of Queensland Health’s Preventative Health Branch Kaye Pulsford said the fines, totalling more than $104,000, were a tough, but necessary reminder that smokers not only put themselves at risk of serious health problems, but also the people around them.
“In 2017-18, 400 infringement notices were issued and 270 warnings were given,” Ms Pulsford said.
“Ultimately this means more than 700 people were smoking in a place they were not supposed to, putting thousands of others at risk because of their second-hand smoke.
“These latest figures tell us that Queenslanders need a reminder – Smoking in a smoke-free zone, whether it’s a tobacco cigarette or an electronic cigarette, is not only illegal, but it also puts yourself and others at risk.”
Ms Pulsford said there was strong community support for smoke-free public places.
“The vast majority of Queenslanders are non-smokers, yet continue to be exposed to harmful tobacco through second-hand smoke in public places,” she said.
“Our environmental health officers regularly respond to complaints by the public when people light up in no-smoking areas. We understand giving up smoking is hard. But where and when you smoke is a choice.
“Our aim is to protect non-smokers from the dangerous effects of second-hand cigarette smoke, while also providing support for smokers to quit for good.”
Ms Pulsford said Queensland Health offered a range of initiatives to help people quit smoking, including tailored support programs through Quitline, and a new website, QuitHQ, which brought all tobacco related information together in the one place.
“Nicotine, whether it is in tobacco cigarettes or electronic cigarettes, is one of the most addictive substances known and it can be very difficult for people to quit,” she said.
“It can take a concerted effort to quit, but it is possible and we want people to know there is help available.
“No matter who you are, or how long you’ve been smoking, it’s never too late to become healthier and happier without cigarettes.”
Smoking bans are in effect across the state in different locations and situations. They cover major public places where adults, and more importantly, children frequent.
A full list of smoke-free zones can be found at https://www.health.qld.gov.au/public-health/topics/atod/tobacco-laws/outdoor
For help quitting, visit https://quithq.initiatives.qld.gov.au/ or call Quitline on 13 78 48.
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