7 things you need know about South Africa’s new smoking bill

The Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill, which was published for public comment in May this year, seeks to regulate public smoking, smoking in the workplace as well as the sale and advertising of tobacco and electronic cigarettes.

During the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health held in Cape Town in March this year, the American Cancer Society (ACS) and Vital Strategies released the ‘Tobacco Atlas‘. It revealed that more than 42 100 South Africans are killed by tobacco-related diseases every year. The report found that more than 55 000 children (10-14 years old) and 6 321 000 adults (15+ years old) continue to use tobacco each day in South Africa.

The following changes in SA’s smoking laws will affect a large number of South Africans:

  1. The Bill plans to introduce a zero-tolerance policy on indoor smoking and a requirement that smoking areas are at least 10 meters away from public entrances.
  2. The Bill also proposes a ban on smoking in a motor vehicle when a child under the age of 18 years is present and there is more than one person present in that vehicle. This will not only apply to cigarettes but also extends to tobacco products and electronic delivery systems such as pipes, water pipes and electronic devices.
  3. There will be a ban on smoking in any enclosed common areas of a multi-unit residence.
  4. Smoking in the workplace will also be regulated whether the workplace is a home or an office. The Star reported that this will affect employers who smoke in the presence of their domestic workers or gardeners on their premises. In addition, it notes that you may not smoke in your home if you use it for teaching, tutoring or commercial childcare.
  5. The Bill may prohibit smoking in any outdoor public space or workplace if it’s of public interest.
  6. People who break any of the new laws will receive a fine or harsh jail time depending on the offense. Those caught smoking in banned areas could be asked to pay a fine or face jail time of up to three months. Those found guilty of manufacturing, selling or importing tobacco products which do not meet the new requirements and existing standards could face a fine and imprisonment of up to 10 years.
  7. South Africa is still one of the countries that sell tobacco products with their original branding, which in some countries, is banned. There will be stricter measures on tobacco product branding and tobacco manufacturers will need to have clear warning labels as well as accompanying images on their products.
  • Public comments on the Bill can be emailed to Ms Lynne Moeng-Mahlangu at [email protected] by no later than Thursday, 9 August 2018.
  • Enquiries can be directed to the Department of Health on (012) 395 9512
  AUTHOR
Caxton Central

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