Local smokers avoid last gasp with no plans for public ban
GLADSTONE smokers can breathe easier for now, with Gladstone Regional Council having no plans to pursue bans on smoking in public places.
The announcement comes after Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said he intended to strengthen tobacco control across the state, in a bid to recoup health costs associated with smoking-related illnesses.
On Tuesday the council's environmental portfolio spokesman Col Chapman said no plans were in place for the Gladstone region as yet.
Queensland Health figures estimate that 32,000 school children aged between 12-17 smoke weekly.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Professor Jeff Dunn said that even small exposure to tobacco smoke could be harmful, particularly for children and adolescents.
"Tougher tobacco control laws send an important signal to young people that smoking is not a habit worth taking up," Prof Dunn said.
The Cancer Council Queensland has been a strong advocate for uniform statewide laws on smoking in public places.
Mr Springborg said at the weekend the State Government was prepared to consider tougher laws on smoking.
"Should we and could we go further, I am prepared to look at options with my interstate colleagues," Mr Springborg said.
Smoking bans already exist in some areas for indoor and outdoor public places, as well as tough restrictions on retail advertising, display and promotion of tobacco products.
Anti-smoking groups have lobbied to extend laws to limit the number of outlets selling tobacco, and make smoking a classifiable element in movies.
The State Government currently enforces the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act 1998 which deals with areas that are banned for smoking (such as within four metres of building entries and outdoor dining area).
Local councils have been given the opportunity to regulate additional areas in their regions, such as malls.
The City of Melbourne in Victoria is looking at implementing some of the world's toughest smoking laws, with one councillor calling for a complete smoking ban across the city.
"The ban would extend to any public place that could in no way be considered a private place, so basically anything that is not private land, so that would include alfresco dining areas, outside office blocks, anything like that,'' councillor Richard Foster said.
Do you think smoking should be banned in public places across Gladstone?
This poll ended on 13 March 2013.
Yes. Smokers should keep their smoke to themselves.
No. It's not a huge problem.
Not sure. It's a tricky issue.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.