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Smoking drivers next target for anti-cancer campaigners

The Cancer Council is calling on the Queensland government to ban smoking in cars.
News Corp Australia network

14 Jan 2015 • 3 min read

Anti-cancer campaign wants last gasp for drivers.

Drivers smoking in their own cars are the next target for anti-cancer campaigners, following a push to outlaw smoking on apartment balconies.

The Cancer Council Queensland says "public pressure" has led to smoke-free cars becoming a priority for both major political parties.

They say they have been guaranteed a meeting with the Health Minister regardless of who wins the state election and will seek bipartisan support.

Babies and children are particularly vulnerable to third-hand smoke

Cancer Council Queensland advocacy head Anne Savage said banning smoking in cars was important to prevent children being affected by potentially deadly third-hand smoke that can linger in cars long after a cigarette has been extinguished.

Drivers are not allowed to smoke in a car with a child aged under 16 but the Cancer Council wants to broaden this to a ban of smoking at all times.

"The harmful chemicals can stick to the seats, seatbelts, clothing, dust, steering wheel and other items," Ms Savage said. "Babies and children are particularly vulnerable to third-hand smoke and could be harmfully affected in instances where baby capsules and child car seats have been exposed to toxic smoke." The move comes as News Corp Australia yesterday revealed a Government-commissioned research paper by QUT canvassed legislative change to ban smoking on balconies to prevent cigarette smoke drifting into neighbours' homes.

Yesterday, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the discussion paper had taken 18 months and any decision would take "quite some time".

"It is about listening to Queenslanders - we are very much happy to have feedback on whether the people like it or not, but obviously there is going to be a divergence of views, but it is about the people living in community title schemes having a say," he said.

Premier Campbell Newman said while he thought people should be able to smoke on their balconies, there had been a lot of complaints. He said any changes would only be implemented after consultation.

"This is something that the Government has had a lot of people looking at. It would only happen after a lot of consultation. But I think Australia has enough laws and I am always loathe to see more laws come in," Mr Newman said.

Strata Community Australia Queensland president Simon Barnard said unit occupiers should be treated the same as smokers in houses. "We don't see how unit owners should be treated any differently to stand-alone house owners, who are bound by council regulations," Mr Barnard said.