Stronger laws to crack down on illicit tobacco

  • The Palaszczuk Government will introduce legislation to Parliament to strengthen Queensland’s anti-smoking laws this week
  • New legislation will include stronger enforcement action on illicit tobacco sale and supply, the introduction of a licencing scheme for the sale of tobacco, the expansion of smoke-free areas and tougher restrictions on cigarette sales in licenced venues
  • Smoking remains the number one preventable cause of death and disease in Queensland

Over the past 25 years, concerted public health efforts have more than halved the adult smoking rate in Queensland.

While Queensland has some of the strongest tobacco laws in the world, smoking is still a significant contributor to death, disease and health inequity.

After consulting key stakeholders such as small businesses, public health agencies, retailers and hospitality businesses, the Palaszczuk Government is delivering major smoking law reform.

The new regime will establish Queensland Health as the lead agency to enforce the new legislation and crack down on people who sell illicit tobacco and ensure only “fit and proper” people are licenced to sell tobacco products. Queensland Health officials will have the support of police for investigative and enforcement activities.

Currently, the framework that exists to crack down on illegal operators requires participation from multiple agencies across different levels of government. The new laws will streamline the response from authorities to keep illegal tobacco off our streets.

The legislation will also expand the number of smoke-free public spaces to protect people from the harms of second-hand smoke.

Quotes attributable to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk:

“We are delivering on our commitment to take stronger action against smoking.

“While I’m pleased to see that smoking rates continue to drop in Queensland, we must do more.

“This new legislation will streamline the approach to compliance and enforcement, so that agencies can get on with the job of reducing access to illicit tobacco.”

Quotes attributable to Minster for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath:

“Too many people in Queensland die preventable deaths due to smoking.

“We have to do what we can to continue to reduce rates of smoking.

“We’re delivering the reforms that stakeholders have said they need to be able to take further appropriate action to reduce smoking rates.”

Quotes attributable to Cancer Council Queensland CEO Andrew Donne:

“Queensland’s adult smoking rate has more than halved over the past two decades. Yet smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease, with one in five cancers attributable to tobacco use.

“These changes will reduce the supply of tobacco products, particularly illicit tobacco, and increase the number of smoke free venues and give Queensland the opportunity to accelerate the decline in smoking rates and ultimately, save lives.”

Quotes attributable to the Lung Foundation Australia CEO Mark Brooke:

“The tobacco reforms proposed are vital and will help bring Queensland back as a leader in tobacco control.

“Implementing a positive license scheme is particularly important and Lung Foundation Australia are thrilled that once passed, this can start quickly.”

Quotes attributable to the Public Health Association of Australia CEO Adjunct Professor Terry Slevin:

“Smoking tobacco remains one of the most common causes of preventable death for Queenslanders. Unfortunately too many people think tobacco control is “done”. It is not, and there is still more to do.

“Proper controls on how this deadly product is sold, promoted and used are vital pieces of the puzzle. Second hand smoke is still a health issue. All States must step up to play their role in proper local regulation as well as enforcement of the rules.

“All of these reforms are essential as we drive down smoking rates, particularly among children.”

Quotes attributable to the Heart Foundation’s General Manager, Queensland Sheree Hughes:

“The Heart Foundation welcomes the proposed changes in the Bill that will ensure better licencing and enforcement of tobacco and other smoking products.

“Smoking is the leading contributor to the over 19,000 coronary heart disease deaths in Queensland each year.

“We must do everything possible to ensure the next generation don’t get hooked on smoking products.”

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