Cancer Council Calls to Close Smoking Loophole
Cancer Council Queensland is urging decision makers to close the legislative loophole enabling adults to purchase smoking products for their children, in a bid to protect the health of young people.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the established world and in Queensland, causes 3,400 deaths each year. Nationally, smoking causes around one in five cancer deaths.
“Vaping is causing addiction in a new generation of young users and as governments take action to reduce the accessibility of e-nicotine products, there is a risk these users to switch to cigarette use.”
The health risks associated with smoking cigarettes or e-cigarettes is far higher for young people, particularly under the age of 18, as they have smaller and more delicate lungs than adults and their immune systems are still developing.
Speaking to the concerns of Cancer Council Queensland, General Manager, Advocacy James Farrell said, “In 2016, Queensland Health data revealed 5 per cent of Queenslanders aged 14-19 years smoked. We want to see this number hit zero.”
“Current Queensland legislation allows ‘a responsible adult’ (parent, step-parent, guardian) to supply smoking products to a child due to a simple loophole that doesn’t legally condemn the action."
“Closing this pathway to tobacco for Queensland children requires one simple legislative step – deleting sub-section 19(2) from the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Act.
“We encourage lawmakers to take this step,” Mr Farrell explained.
A study conducted in 2017 found that over 80 per cent of Australian secondary students who currently smoke did not buy their last cigarette themselves.
“There is no safe level of tobacco consumption, especially for our young Queenslanders,” Mr Farrell said.
The request from Cancer Council Queensland comes as new research out of The Australian National University (ANU) revealed young non-smokers who vape are three times as likely to take up smoking than non-vapers.
The report, commissioned by the Australian Government, highlighted that nicotine use in adolescents can lead to lifelong addiction and health issues as well as difficulties concentrating and learning.
Mr Farrell expressed concern around the health implications of vaping for young Australians and how it may be used as a gateway for cigarette smoking.
"Vaping is causing addiction in a new generation of young users and as governments take action to reduce the accessibility of e-nicotine products, there is a risk these users to switch to cigarette use,” Mr Farrell said.
Cancer Council Queensland is dedicated to improving quality of life for people living with cancer, through research, patient care, prevention and early detection.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.
Tips to quit smoking
Set a quit date so you can become mentally ready to become a non-smoker – record your smoking behaviour in the few weeks leading up so you have a better understanding of how many cigarettes you smoke and what your triggers and habits are.
Write down your reasons for quitting – keep these in your wallet and refer to them when you have strong cravings.
Stay busy – occupy yourself with a task when a craving strikes.
Get rid of anything that might make you want to smoke – throw away cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays in your home.
Get plenty of support – ask your friends and family to support you and keep you on track. If you live or work with other people who smoke, ask them to quit with you. Contact Quitline 13 Quit (13 7848) 7am – 10pm, 7 days a week for support and encouragement to quit or visit quitnow.org.au
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