Legislative update

NEW SA SMOKING LAWS ‘IN 2 WEEKS’

06 JUNE 2019

 

Regulations to ban smoking in all public spaces, remove branding from cigarettes packs and control electronic cigarettes will be published within two weeks.

The 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH), Cape Town, South Africa,
JoseŽ Luis Castro, WCTOH co-chair; Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health, South Africa.
Photo©The Union/Steve Forrest/Workers’ Photos

This is according to Health Director General Precious Matsoso, who was speaking on the sidelines of the World Conference on Tobacco or Health, which opened for the first time in Africa yesterday.

“I had hoped they would be published this week to coincide with the conference, but they are still being discussed by the Cabinet sub-committee,” said Matsoso.

Two years ago, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi indicated that government wanted to introduce the new regulations but admitted yesterday that South Africa had “lagged behind” in its fight against tobacco control.

“In 2005, we compromised and allowed smoking in 25 percent of public spaces but we are going to take that space away to protect everyone,” said Motsoaledi, addressing the opening the conference.

“We are also committed to plain packaging,” he added. “We are looking at regulating all nicotine delivery systems including electronic systems because we need to control those.”

Fighting back

“All the signs are there that the tobacco industry is staging a fight-back after a slew of tobacco control legislation in the past two decades,” said Motsoaledi. “They are targeting young people in Africa. In the US, they are targeting African American people, the homeless and mentally ill. They are targeting young, working class and the most vulnerable people. We need activism against this onslaught.”

The tobacco industry and the food industry used job creation to defend themselves against government regulation “but are we creating these jobs for corpses?” asked the minister.

Meanwhile, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that Africa was “ground zero” for tobacco companies, who had identified it as a major growth market.

But, said Tedros, six out of 10 people in the world were now protected by some of the measures developed by the WHO against smoking, and that eight African countries had introduced picture warnings of he effects of smoking on cigarette packs.

No co-operation

Tedros appealed to all governments not to co-operate with the tobacco industry, including the recently formed Foundation for a Smoke-free World, financed by Marlboro manufacturer Philip Morris, and headed by former WHO official Derek Yach.

Billionaire philanthropist and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg warned that “one billion people will die this century from smoking despite our efforts”.

“The tobacco industry is doing everything to circumvent our efforts to control tobacco to sell a product that is deadly and kills the people who use it,” said Bloomberg, who has donated over $1-billion to tobacco control.

However, Bloomberg said there had been remarkable gains: “In the US, you cannot go into a restaurant and smoke. In Shanghai, the government owns the tobacco companies but it no longer allows smoking in public.” – Health-e News.

Legislative update

6 CHANGES TO SOUTH AFRICA’S NEW SMOKING LAWS WHICH YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT

04 JUNE 2019

 

The Department of Health has officially released its Draft Tobacco Bill for public comment.

Among other proposals, the Draft Bill plans to ban smoking in certain public spaces and significantly clamp down on what advertising may be used to promote tobacco products.

These changes include:

  • A zero-tolerance policy on in-door smoking in public places (including the removal of designated smoking areas in restaurants);
  • A ban on outdoor smoking in certain public places;
  • The removal of all signage on cigarette packaging aside from the brand name and warning stickers;
  • Cigarettes may no longer be publicly displayed by retailers.

While a number of these proposed changes have been well documented in the media, the official publication of the regulations has also revealed a number of other proposals which could prove to be more controversial among the South African public.

According to a American Cancer Society (ACS) report released in March, 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.

This means that a large portion of the population is likely to be affected by the regulations – while arguably an even larger number of people are likely to benefit from the reduction of harmful second-hand smoke.

These other changes include:

  1. A ban on smoking in any motor vehicle when a child under the age of 18 years is present and there is more than one person present in that vehicle.
  2. An extension of these laws to not only cigarettes, but also any devices used in connection with tobacco products and electronic delivery systems such as pipes, water pipes and electronic devices.
  3. A ban on smoking in any enclosed common areas of a multi-unit residence.
  4. The Minister may prohibit smoking in any outdoor public place or workplace if they believe it would be in the public interest.
  5. Stricter rules on the depiction of any tobacco products – including a ban on the sale of any confectionery or toy that resembles or is intended to represent a tobacco product.
  6. Harsh jail time or a fine depending on the severity of the offence. For example those caught smoking in banned areas will receive a fine or or prison time up to 3 months, while those found guilty of manufacturing 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.

6 changes to South Africa’s new smoking laws which you need to know about

6 CHANGES TO SOUTH AFRICA’S NEW SMOKING LAWS WHICH YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT

07 MAY 2019

 

The Department of Health has officially released its Draft Tobacco Bill for public comment.

Among other proposals, the Draft Bill plans to ban smoking in certain public spaces and significantly clamp down on what advertising may be used to promote tobacco products.

These changes include:

  • A zero-tolerance policy on in-door smoking in public places (including the removal of designated smoking areas in restaurants);
  • A ban on outdoor smoking in certain public places;
  • The removal of all signage on cigarette packaging aside from the brand name and warning stickers;
  • Cigarettes may no longer be publicly displayed by retailers.

While a number of these proposed changes have been well documented in the media, the official publication of the regulations has also revealed a number of other proposals which could prove to be more controversial among the South African public.

According to a American Cancer Society (ACS) report released in March, 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.

This means that a large portion of the population is likely to be affected by the regulations – while arguably an even larger number of people are likely to benefit from the reduction of harmful second-hand smoke.

These other changes include:

  1. A ban on smoking in any motor vehicle when a child under the age of 18 years is present and there is more than one person present in that vehicle.
  2. An extension of these laws to not only cigarettes, but also any devices used in connection with tobacco products and electronic delivery systems such as pipes, water pipes and electronic devices.
  3. A ban on smoking in any enclosed common areas of a multi-unit residence.
  4. The Minister may prohibit smoking in any outdoor public place or workplace if they believe it would be in the public interest.
  5. Stricter rules on the depiction of any tobacco products – including a ban on the sale of any confectionery or toy that resembles or is intended to represent a tobacco product.
  6. Harsh jail time or a fine depending on the severity of the offence. For example those caught smoking in banned areas will receive a fine or or prison time up to 3 months, while those found guilty of manufacturing 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.

JOINT submission on Tobacco Bill

JOINT SUBMISSION ON TOBACCO BILL

13 AUGUST 2018

 

XX August 2018

JOINT SUBMISSION ON THE
DRAFT CONTROL OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS AND ELECTRONIC DELIVERY SYSTEMS BILL, 2018 AND ITS
ACCOMPANYING SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT ASSESSMENT

We, the undersigned, submit that the Draft Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill, 2018, is problematic and should be set aside for the following reasons:

  • Section 2(1) violates personal freedom by effectively banning smoking across South Africa, with a very limited number of places remaining where smoking can legally take place. The provision empowering the Minister to designate any area in the country as a non-smoking area is furthermore unacceptable because it falls foul of the section 1(c) commitment to the Rule of Law found in the Constitution. This power is too broad and untethered.
  • Section 2(1)(e) which prohibits smoking in private homes if there is commercial childcare activity, domestic employment, or schooling that takes place in those homes, is furthermore rife with ambiguity and will yield devastating unintended consequences. It is unclear whether smoking is prohibited if there is childcare activity, domestic employment, or schooling at all, or whether it is simply prohibited in the presence of those children or domestic employees. If it is banned outright (regardless of whether the children or domestic employees are actually present), then it is highly likely that smokers will prefer to be able to smoke, rather than continuing their commercial childcare activity, domestic employment, or schooling, which will be disastrous for employment, education outcomes, and economic growth.
  • Section 3(5)(a) bans displaying relevant products (tobacco and electronic delivery systems) and forces consumers to request the product, which will presumably have to be retrieved from a backroom. This provision has two problematic components: it violates the dignity of consumers by relegating their preferred products to the shadowy corners of the market rather than out in the open; and this provision will be impossible to comply with by small and micro-businesses like spaza and street-side shops, which do not have the infrastructure for backrooms or storage facilities. While this provision will likely be ignored, where enforcement occurs, it stands to have devastating consequences for the informal economy.
  • Section 3(6) effectively bans automated vending machines that dispense relevant products. No reasoning is provided for this apparently arbitrary infringement on the right to choose one’s trade and profession, as contained in section 22 of the Constitution.
  • The plain packaging provisions in section 4 are condescending toward consumers and will have more disastrous unintended consequences. By prohibiting manufacturers from advertising their brands and the fact that some brands are less harmful than others, those manufacturers will stop competing with one another on the basis of health and safety. Their focus will shift to cutting manufacturing costs as far as possible so as to compete on price, rather than providing a better product than their indistinguishable competitors.

To read more click for more on the  JOINT submission on Tobacco Bill