Major smoke bans start from tomorrow on Fraser Coast

THE Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service is embarking on a public education campaign about the new range of smoke-free laws that come into effect across Queensland from September 1.

For the first few months, public health officers from the WBHHS and the Fraser Coast Regional Council will focus on educating and warning people about the changes.

Penalties for offences will start to apply from January.

New smoke-free laws apply to locations where junior sport is held, building entrances, playgrounds, skate parks, early childhood education facilities and aged care centres.

WBHHS Public Health director Dr Margaret Young sad the smoking bans will especially protect the elderly, families and children from the hazards of passive smoking.

"In the Wide Bay we have the 8th highest smoking rate in Australia, making these laws particularly important preventative measures for our community," she said.

"Smoking is directly linked to negative health outcomes increasing the likelihood of asthma, heart disease, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

RELATED: List of areas that will be smoke-free zones from September 1

"Not only will these laws protect people from passive smoking, but banning smoking will remove the presence of smokers and normalization of smoking from children's sporting events, playgrounds and child care centres.

"This hopefully will make smoking appear less normal and less attractive to young people in the long term which will further reduce smoking rates."

The smoke-free laws ban smoking from:

  • within 10 metres of viewing and playing areas during under-18 sporting events
  • within 5 metres of all non-residential building entrances
  • within 10 metres of playgrounds and skate parks
  • within 5 metres of early childhood education and care facilities
  • at public and private aged care facilities and for 5 metres from their boundaries.

"The additional smoke-free areas also provide a great opportunity for smokers to make the decision to quit smoking," Dr Young said.

"More smoke-free areas mean less opportunities to smoke, so I encourage people to contact Quitline on 13 QUIT to seek professional help."

Next year there will be a further expansion of smoke-free areas to national parks, camping grounds and other areas.

Anyone looking to quit smoking should call 13 QUIT.

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