Yeppoon tradie fires up over proposed smoking ban
YEPPOON concreter and carpenter Kayne Duncan doesn't think his work has anything to do with him being a smoker.
A new study by the Cancer Council Queensland has identified the smoking culture within the trade industry is putting workers at greatest risk of related illnesses and disease.
The Council is calling for employers to fire up and tackle the problem of one-in-four tradies lighting up daily.
Kayne yesterday said his decision to smoke had nothing to do with his job.
The 28-year-old disagreed with the association between tradesmen and tradeswomen and smoking saying it was rarely present in his daily work place.
"I personally don't think being a tradie has anything to do with the smoking statistics, we still go to work and do our jobs despite being smokers or not," Kayne said.
The tradie of six years agreed it was a horrible habit but said he rarely smoked at work because there was always work to do.
CEO of Cancer Council Queensland Chris McMillan said the status of tradies as a "living national treasure" was being put at risk.
She said the working environment of tradesmen created a "social culture of smoking" which she said increased the risk of others to take up the deadly habit.
"Half of all Queensland smokers have a trade qualification or diploma - demonstrating the disproportionate risk carried by our tradies," Ms McMillan said.
Kayne said being a tradesman never influenced him to take up smoking and disagreed that tradesmen and tradeswomen carried an automatic risk over their head.
She said employers needed to make worker's health a priority and consider a smoke-free future for job sites.
"This must go hand-in-hand with other smoke free strategies to discourage smoking and reduce uptake, especially among younger tradies who may be more vulnerable to social influence of older workers," she said.
Kayne agreed this approach could help people quit smoking but said it came down to individual choice.
"After just 72 hours (of quitting smoking) a person's sense of taste and smell starts to improve," Ms McMillan said.
"After one year of being smoke free a person's risk of heart disease will be halved compared with those who continue to smoke.
"The evidence is undeniable - smoking and second-hand smoke kills - at least 10 Queensland smokers die every single day from smoking-related illness and disease, and at least one Queenslander will die every week from exposure to smoke drift, without ever having smoked a cigarette in their life.
"Thousands of Queensland tradies are at high risk of avoidable disease and death because of the tragic toll tobacco takes on our trades sector."
CQ Hospital and Health Services chief executive Steve Williamson agreed the region's smoking statistics were alarmingly high.
Mr Williamson said the Destination 2030 goals included 10,000 fewer lives lost from smoking-related diseases and a strategy to tackle obesity, diabetes and mental well-being
"Unless these issues and ongoing trends are addressed now, they will lead to significantly increases pressures on our health services across CQ," Mr Williamson said.
Workers and tradies can get support to quit smoking by calling 13 QUIT or visiting cancerqld.org.au/quest.