Queensland must adopt a tobacco endgame strategy

Matthew Rimmer
3 min readApr 20, 2023

QUT Media, 13 April 2023

Rimmer, Matthew (2023) A Submission on the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products Amendment Bill 2023 (Qld): Health and Environment Committee, the Queensland Parliament. Health and Environment Committee, the Queensland Parliament.

Queensland must adopt a tobacco endgame strategy

13th April 2023

The elimination of smoking in Queensland should be the Government’s aim rather than just reducing smoking’s negative effects, a QUT law expert’s submission to the Queensland Parliament on its anti-smoking bill recommends.

  • Tobacco and other smoking products amendment bill 2023 (Qld) is before Parliament’s health and environment committee
  • Submission welcomes the pioneering public health initiative
  • Submission calls for raising of smoking age
  • Lower density of smoking retailers, particularly in disadvantage areas
  • Close loopholes to smoking enclaves in public spaces.

Professor Matthew Rimmer, from QUT School of Law and the QUT Australian Health Law Research Centre, welcomed the legislative bill.

“The Queensland Government has shown commendable public health leadership with its commitment to tobacco control,” Professor Rimmer said.

“This Bill provides important law reforms — particularly in respect of smoke-free environments, retail licensing, and law enforcement.

“The Queensland Government has also shown a heartfelt commitment to the protection of human rights, including children’s rights, from the global tobacco epidemic.”

Professor Rimmer’s submission encourages the Government to update the objectives of its anti-smoking legislation to better reflect a tobacco endgame strategy.

“The Queensland Government could go even further with its anti-smoking legislation,” he said.

“The Bill and its legislative sponsors have focused on protecting children and youth from the tobacco industry and my submission calls for further age restrictions on smoking in Queensland to achieve smoke-free generations.

“By raising the legal age for smoking we would be following the lead of the United States, Singapore, and New Zealand.

“Further, we need a licensing regime for tobacco retailers in Queensland, combined with a reduction in the density and concentration of smoking retailers, particularly in disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Queensland.”

Professor Rimmer said Australia had led the world with plain packaging and other successful smoking reduction initiatives and the State Government has shown a strong commitment to safeguarding Queenslanders’ health from tobacco use.

“However, we could go further and close loopholes and anomalies in the law that still allow for smoking enclaves in public spaces,” he said.

“Furthermore, tobacco use has put a huge burden on people and the health system with smoking-related, death, disease and disability in Queensland.

“The Queensland Government should consider civil litigation and criminal litigation against the tobacco industry and hold them responsible and accountable for the billions of dollars of costs their products incur”.

Professor Rimmer said a further measure to achieve the tobacco endgame should be to guard against tobacco industry interference in Queensland’s political system.

“Tobacco companies and related entities should be banned from making political donations in the Queensland political system.

“We have a mismatch between the extent of the problem of smoking in Queensland, and the incremental nature of the public policy proposals proposed by the Queensland Government.

“The objective of Queensland’s tobacco control regime should aim higher than the reduction of smoking’s negative effects and work towards a smoke-free Queensland.”

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Matthew Rimmer

Professor of Intellectual Property and Innovation Law, QUT. #Copyright #Patent #Trademark #plainpacks #Access2meds #SDGs #Climate #IndigenousIP #trade #TPP