Queensland Health said research suggested more than 30 per cent of smokers with children aged under 14 continued to smoke in their cars. Latest figures show 158 people have ignored new state laws, introduced on January 1, banning smoking in cars carrying children under 16, and have been fined. There are an estimated 276,000 Queensland smokers with children aged under 16 in the household.
Health Minister Paul Lucas said after a statewide education campaign it was disappointing some people still thought it was OK to smoke in cars with child passengers.
Queensland Health’s acting executive director of preventative health, Mark West, said nobody should be smoking in confined spaces, with babies or young teens.
“Inside a vehicle is very small, and if a mum, dad, aunty or cousin is smoking, it’s a very dangerous environment for their breathing,” Mr West said.
“It makes bronchitis, asthma and breathing issues immediately worse.”
Mr West said with longer exposure there was the potential for lung cancer, emphysema and heart disease, even for children, because their lungs were still developing.
Australian Medical Association Queensland president Gino Pecoraro said there were well established health risks to children from passive smoking.
“We know that right from birth babies who go home to households where people smoke are at greater risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome),” Dr Pecoraro said.
Since 2005, almost 1700 on-the-spot fines have been issued for smoking law infringements in Queensland.
Environmental health officers have fined 348 people for smoking at major sports facilities, 344 for smoking at building entrances and 221 people for smoking at outdoor eating or drinking venues.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman has announced smoking will be banned or restricted to designated areas within a year.
Smoking is also attracting nuisance complaints from unit owners.
Last week The Sunday Mail reported how Cairns smoker Cleis Norbury won an appeal against a decision that would have meant she could not smoke on her balcony.
Unit owner John Hogan had made a nuisance complaint under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act about cigarette smoke from her balcony drifting up into his bedroom.
An adjudicator found Ms Norbury’s smoking interfered with his enjoyment of his property, but Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal president Justice Alan Wilson overturned the decision and sent the case back to the adjudicator for a new determination.
Material by: heraldsun.com.au