I’m sure South African smokers are still processing the stress that came with the lockdown tobacco sales ban, so the thought of more regulations on the consumption of nicotine products might be touching a nerve.
But, there’s no need to panic just yet.
Calm down, take a deep breath, or a drag of your ciggie, and let’s lay out the facts.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet plans to table the Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill before the end of the year.
This was announced back in May, when amidst the tobacco ban, deputy health minister Joe Phaahla confirmed that several alterations had been proposed for our current laws governing where nicotine products, like cigarettes and vaping devices, can be smoked, among other things.
The draft bill mentioned above has been in the works since 2018, long before we had a pandemic to deal with.
Here’s a breakdown of what the bill is proposing:
- The bill aims to place harsher restrictions on e-cigarettes and vaping accessories
- It wants to limit the use, marketing and sales of certain tobacco products in South Africa
- It will also allow the government to go ahead with a plan to ban smoking in all public places
To return to Phaahla’s statement in May, via BusinessTech, here’s why they’re hoping the cabinet will give the go-ahead for the proposed changes.
“We’re finalising the Tobacco Control Bill to close the gap to protect the public from harmful effects of tobacco use. We continue to identify areas that need strengthening in terms of legislation,” he said.
As it currently stands, the law prohibits smoking in many public places but allows for designated smoking areas in places like bars, taverns, and restaurants provided that they do not take up more than 25% of the venue.
“We want to change the 25% allowed smoking in public areas to 100% prohibition of smoking in public areas.”
Once again, all of this hasn’t been finalised, so we’ll have to wait and see whether or not it goes through.[source:businesstech]