Smokers burnt by tough new laws
IF YOU'RE a smoker, you're probably struggling to find somewhere you're allowed to light up.
Many of your last remaining options went up in a puff of smoke after Queensland Parliament approved the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products (Smoke-free Places) Amendment Bill 2015.
Under the changes, which come into effect from September 1, you will no longer be able to smoke at public transport waiting points, pedestrian malls, aged care facilities, specified national parks and at or near children's organised sporting events and skate parks.
Added to the fact that you already can't light up between the flags on patrolled beaches, near the entrance to commercial buildings, in outdoor eating and drinking areas, or in vehicles if kids are present - and that's just to name a few - and you'll be almost out of options to get your nicotine fix.
Before you reach for an electronic cigarette in the style of Leonardo DiCaprio, you should know they are subject to the same "no smoking" rules as regular cigarettes and those that contain liquid nicotine are illegal in Queensland.
While smokers received little sympathy from the non-smoking majority questioned by the Daily in a street poll, smokers themselves called for common sense when implementing the rules.
Neil Wilson, of Buderim, said an acquaintance had recently tried to eat a packet of crisps in the "smoking" area of a Coast pub, only to be told that it was not allowed.
"Eating in smoking areas should be the smoker's choice," Mr Wilson said.
About 3700 Queenslanders die from tobacco-related diseases each year and about 370 of those deaths - equating to more than one a day - are caused by second-hand smoke exposure.
However, Queensland Health figures reveal smoking rates in the state have dropped to their lowest level, with only 12% of adults smoking daily at the end of last year, compared with 14% in 2014.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said Queensland already led the nation in laws to cut the harm caused by tobacco.
"And our new laws will ensure we stay in front," he said.
Shadow Health Minister Mark McArdle said the new laws were intended to save lives and were are "a big step towards making Queensland smoke-free".
Cancer Council Queensland spokeswoman Katie Clift said smoke-free spaces were proven to help people quit smoking.
"They will also safeguard the community from second-hand smoke and prevent the next generation from taking up the habit," she said.
"Initiatives like smoke-free spaces, along with increases in tobacco tax excise, plain packaging and awareness campaigns all play a part in assisting smokers to quit and protecting our community."
Smokers can obtain free information, advice and support from Quitline on 137 848.
Incoming new laws:
Public transport waiting points.
Aged care facilities.
Specified national parks.
Public swimming pools.
Within 5m of the entrance to non-residential buildings (up from 4m).
Pedestrian precincts around State Government buildings.
At or near early childhood services, including kindergartens and after-school care.
At or near children's organised sporting events and skate parks.
You already can't smoke:
Within 5m of schools.
Within 5m of hospitals and health facilities.
Within 10m of outdoor public playgrounds.
In vehicles where children under 16 years are present.
At patrolled beach areas.
At commercial outdoor eating or drinking areas.
Inside pubs, clubs, restaurants and workplaces
At major sports facilities.