Smoking laws are useless if everyone ignores them

AT LEAST 10 people flagrantly broke the state's smoking laws during a 20-minute stint outside Nambour Courthouse.

Some people had lit up before they had even walked out the courthouse doors, in clear violation of the four-metre rule for no-smoking outside of a non-residential area.

Others gathered in groups close to the front door for a quick puff, with many flicking their butts to the ground and making no attempt to pick them.

The smokers, photographed by the Daily, appeared unconcerned about any chance of being caught and handed a $228 on-the-spot fine for breaking the smoking laws.

And with good reason.

COMPLETELY PUFFED: People smoking outside Nambour Courthouse. Nobody appears to be prepared to police the laws.PHOTOS: KATHY SUNDSTROM
COMPLETELY PUFFED: People smoking outside Nambour Courthouse. Nobody appears to be prepared to police the laws.PHOTOS: KATHY SUNDSTROM

Only one person had been given a fine for smoking within four metres of an entrance to an enclosed place in the 12 months to November 24.

More recent figures were not available yesterday.

The courthouse is close to the Sunshine Coast Council chambers and next to a police station.

But no regulating authority appears to be keen to enforce the law.

Queensland Health environment officers police the state's smoking laws.

However, Health Minister Lawrence Springborg called on councils in November to help monitor the laws.

"Councils are best positioned to design bans that address these community concerns about smoking," his spokesman said.

The Sunshine Coast Council refused to take up the offer, saying Queensland Health was the "administrating authority for smoking laws".

"If Sunshine Coast Council was required to enforce a new local law it would ultimately be funded by the ratepayer," a spokeswoman said in November.

"Council does not have the budget to take on this additional and costly regulatory function."


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