You’re not the only one. Queenslanders living in units, apartments and townhouses rank it as one of their greatest concerns and major peeves, and it’s a proven threat to human health. Yup, we’re talking smoke drift.
In fact, the issue of second-hand smoke in apartment blocks has caused such distress among unit-owners that the current review of Queensland’s property laws is canvassing options for regulating smoking in multi-unit dwellings.
The Cancer Council has long called for the review, in response to an exponentially increasing numbers of complaints from Queenslanders fed up with locking themselves inside to protect themselves, and their families, from toxic tobacco wafting from neighbouring properties.
The evidence is irrefutable – people do deserve proper protection from the very real dangers of unwanted second-hand smoke in their homes.
Almost one Queenslander dies every day from second-hand smoke exposure – that’s a person who has never smoked a cigarette in their life, who has simply inhaled the dangerous chemicals and compounds from other people’s cigarettes.
Just inhaling tobacco smoke, without even puffing on a cigarette, can actually increase a person’s risk of developing lung cancer by an alarming 30 per cent.
And if that’s not bad enough, there’s also third-hand smoke, which occurs when cigarette smoke lingers on surfaces in homes and cars, on curtains, floors, clothing, dust and toys for months after active smoking occurs.
Second and third-hand smoke not only threatens a person’s physical health, but can significantly impact mental health, triggering anxiety and distress.
Anyone who has been exposed to second-hand smoke against their will knows what we mean. If units are in close proximity, or townhouses are closely constructed, this becomes a major issue that can affect a daily sense of freedom and wellbeing, adversely impacting on neighbourly relations.
So, if smoke drift affects you, what can you do about it?
Submissions to the current property law review are open until 30 January 2015 – you can voice your concerns, comments and experiences online through a submission at justice.qld.gov.au, just look for the Body Corporate Governance Options paper.
The review is our best opportunity, as a community, to promote smoke free homes and end the tragic toll of tobacco-related illness and disease. Particularly for our next generation of Queenslanders, the many thousands of kids who currently don’t have the power to stop adult smokers from doing them harm.
Public awareness of the health risks associated with smoking and second-hand smoke has been steadily increasing in recent years – this is our chance to help create even greater safeguards towards a smoke free future.
Support also continues to grow for smoke free public spaces, including bus stops, taxi ranks, and malls, supported by ongoing Cancer Council advocacy.
Smoke free spaces and homes are an important step towards a smoke free future.
If we continue the current pace of progress on tobacco control in Queensland, it is possible to nearly eliminate smoking-related illness and disease in our lifetime.
If you are a smoker, CCQ wants to support you to quit for your own health, the health of your friends and family, and other Queenslanders around you too. Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848).