Smoking could be banned from more public places in Queensland as the state tries to crack down on second-hand smoke, underage users, illegal tobacco and vaping.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has called for public submissions on a raft of legal changes being proposed in a tobacco law reform discussion paper.
The proposals include banning smoking from outdoor markets and school car parks, while children would be prohibited from smoking areas in pubs and clubs.
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Retailers would need a licence to sell vapes, or e-cigarettes, retail workers under the age of 18 would be banned from selling tobacco and cigarette machines would be moved behind the bar at pubs and clubs.
Ms D’Ath says smoking rates have halved in Queensland in the past 20 years, but the habit remains the leading preventable cause of deaths.
Tightening laws will help state and federal authorities crack down on illegal tobacco sales including vapes, the minister said.
“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,” Ms D’Ath said.
“Ahead of World No Tobacco Day on 31 May, the Palaszczuk government is delivering on its election commitment to take strong action on smoking in Queensland.”
One in 10 Queenslanders smoke every day and about 12 per cent of deaths in the state are caused by smoking-related illnesses, according to government figures.
Almost seven per cent of 12-17-year-olds smoke every day, while 16 per cent of secondary school students have used a vape.
Ms D’Ath said the impacts of smoking-related illnesses cost about $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,” she said.