The Queensland Government is concerned the air is not fresh enough in national parks, citing air quality and passive smoking as key reasons for a partial smoking ban that comes into force tomorrow.
National Parks Minister Dr Steven Miles said the new restrictions applied to people near picnic tables and barbecues to toilet blocks, jetties and information shelters in the state’s 272 national parks and campsites.
“These new rules will make the air fresher where people are congregating in our national parks,” he said.
Queensland’s chief health officer Jeannette Young suggested the bans would help prevent passive smoking.
“We know that 2 per cent of those 3,700 Queenslanders who die each year from smoking have never actually smoked themselves,” she said.
She acknowledged other states had enacted a total ban on smoking in national parks, but said it was important to focus on areas people congregate.
“I want people to go out into our parks and walk and get involved which will also help reduce obesity,” she said.
“The issue is really about people not smoking where they’ll impact other people who don’t smoke.”
Park rangers can issue on-the-spot fines of $243 for people caught smoking within 10 metres of facilities.
Dr Miles said the restrictions expanded Queensland’s already tough smoking laws.
He also briefly mentioned the threat of bushfires in pointing out new no-smoking signs being erected in national parks would not “pollute” the natural areas.
“But also, I hope, reduce the amount of cigarette butt litter and reduce the amount of unintentional wildfires rangers deal with.”