Queensland has some of the toughest smoking laws in the country. There are 272 national parks and campsites in Queensland. From February 1, anyone caught smoking less than 10 metres away from visitor facilities in one could be hit with a $243 fine. Park rangers will have the power to issue them on-the-spot.
The restrictions have been introduced by the State Government to “improve air quality” and to “reduce passive smoking”. They apply to people lighting up near public areas. These include picnic tables, barbecues, toilet blocks, jetties, boat ramps and information shelters.
“These restrictions will protect the health and well-being of park visitors. We hope smokers will consider their own health and the health of others and observe the new restrictions.” National Parks Minister Doctor Steven Miles said in a statement.
“We want to support people who want to stop smoking, and protect those who choose not to smoke.
“The restrictions will apply to parts of 272 national parks. This will include 245 formalised campgrounds and 150 day-use areas, and bush camping sites,” he said.
Dr Miles also told ABC News the new rules should also help reduce the threat of bushfires.
“I hope it will reduce the amount of cigarette butt litter and reduce the amount of unintentional wildfires rangers deal with,” he said.
Where can you smoke and what are the smoking laws?
When it comes to national parks and campgrounds there are now smoking laws put in place. Smokers have to be at least 10 metres away from visitor facilities to avoid a fine.
“It doesn’t mean you cannot smoke or use e-cigarettes when visiting a national park – it means you cannot smoke or vape close to facilities visitors that visitors use, including in-use campsites,” according to the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing website.
Keep an eye out for signage which explains the new restrictions. The State Government is also planning to put information on camping tags.
With these restrictions in place it is banned in most outdoor public places across the state including:
- Public transport waiting spots
- Within 10 metres of skate parks
- Pedestrian malls
- Public pools
- Outdoor dining areas
- Patrolled beaches
- Children’s play equipment
- Major sport stadiums.
The details on how far away you have to be from these locations to legally smoke are published on Queensland Health’s website.
Rules aim to reduce smoking rate
Chief Health Officer Doctor Jeannette Young said the restrictions were important for improving the health of Queenslanders.
“Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in Australia. Smoke-free public places, coupled with quit smoking services, have resulted in Queensland’s adult daily smoking rate dropping to 12 per cent,” Dr Young said.
“Even passive smoking – breathing in the smoke from other people’s cigarettes – can adversely affect your health, causing cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
“Experience shows that strong smoking laws and bans increase people’s enjoyment of smoke-free public places and provide smokers with a clear understanding of where they should not smoke.
“This is one of several Queensland Health initiatives to reduce smoking rates in Queensland. It limits people’s exposure to secondhand smoke and decreases the likelihood of young people taking it up,” she said.
If you would like some help to quit smoking, advice or support you can start by contacting your GP. House Call Doctor has also written previously about the mobile apps available to help smokers quit and keep track of their progress.