Australia needs to expand smoke-free areas

20 January 2021

The Australian Council on Smoking and Health is calling on all Australian governments to increase the number of smoke-free areas.

“This week marks the 40th anniversary of a landmark study published in the British Medical Journal by Professor Takeshi Hirayama which demonstrated that exposure to secondhand smoke is a cause of lung cancer in non-smokers,” said Maurice Swanson, Chief Executive, Australian Council on Smoking and Health.

“Australia has led the world with smoke-free public transport, workplaces, hotels, restaurants, and sporting facilities, and importantly smoke-free environments have contributed to reductions in the prevalence of smoking.

“Smoke-free areas help smokers to reduce the number of cigarettes smoked and overcome their addiction to nicotine, make smoking less tempting to young people and support ex-smokers to remain smoke-free.

“However, there are further opportunities to realise the many benefits of smoke-free policies in areas such as beer gardens in licenced premises, the high-roller rooms in casinos, prisons, government-supported housing, residential mental health facilities, multi-unit residences, and crowded outdoor areas.

“Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in Australia.

“It is essential that Australian governments continue to focus on evidence-based strategies that have been proven to reduce the prevalence of smoking in both adults and children and reduce the burden of tobacco-caused disease on the health system and the community.

“These strategies include well-funded and sustained public education programs, further prohibitions on the marketing of tobacco products, expansion of smoke-free public places, support for plain packaging, systemic provision of support for smoking cessation through all levels of our health system, and special programs for disadvantaged and vulnerable communities,” Mr Swanson said.

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For media enquiries please contact Maurice Swanson, ACOSH Chief Executive, 0401 090 915