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


13 AUGUST 2018


XX August 2018


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

Now government plans to ban smoking in your own home if you employ a domestic … fire up or fire her?


20 JULY 2018

SpeakersFrancois van der Merwe*, Chairman, Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (TISA)
                    & Leon Louw, Executive Director, Free Market Foundation (FMF) TISA is concerned that the draft controls will damage a major industry that contributes jobs and wealth into the economy. This heavy handed legislation has unintended consequences and should be reconsidered not least because of the link between illicit trade and extreme regulatory proposals. 

Francois van der Merwe will cover:

·         The significant contribution of the tobacco sector in South Africa
·         Main problem areas in the draft Bill
·         TISA’s key concerns and proposals
·          Latest statistics on the illicit tobacco trade in South Africa

Leon Louw will address: Fake Tobacco Control = Real People Control / Remove the right to smoke = suppression of free will / Is your “bad habit” next?

·         Tobacco is inert and cannot be controlled. All control is people control.
·         Bill treats human beings as state-owned biological organisms devoid of minds and souls.
·          Erosion of consumer protection is parading as business regulation.
·         The phony impact assessment conceals inconvenient truths about the erosion of consumer rights.

TUESDAY, 17 July 201811h00 – 11h30 Registration (sandwiches, tea & coffee will be available)
11h30 – 13h30 Presentation & discussion

Free Market Foundation, Block 5 Bryanston Gate, 170 Curzon Road, Bryanston
(opposite Sandton Medi-Clinic)

Entrance free

RSVP by clicking on  http://www.freemarketfoundation.com/View-Event?i=187 – NB please register each attendee separately
Guests welcome
(If you have already responded or cannot join us, no need to RSVP)
You will be able to watch this event LIVE via the FMF’s Facebook page by clicking this link: https://www.facebook.com/FMFSA/

Francois van der Merwe has been actively involved in the tobacco industry for more than thirty years. As a tobacco farmer he has a close understanding of farmer challenges, but also of the many issues faced by the manufacturing sector. He is currently the Chairman of the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (TISA), which deals with matters pertaining to farmers, processors, merchants, manufacturers, exporters and importers of tobacco products, with a mandate into the SACU region. Since 1998 he has represented South Africa at the International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA) as a member, Chairman of the Africa region and also as the global President for four years (2012 – 2016).

Media enquiries
For more information and to arrange for photographs and interviews, contact:
Jayne Boccaleone
082 904 3616

Other enquiries
Joan Evans
011 884 0270

The FMF is an independent, non-profit, public benefit organisation, created in 1975 by pro-free market business and civil society national bodies to work for a non-racial, free and prosperous South Africa. As a policy organisation it promotes sound economic policies and the principles of good law. As a think tank it seeks and puts forward solutions to some of the country’s most pressing problems: unemployment, poverty, growth, education, health care, electricity supply, and more. The FMF was instrumental in the post-apartheid negotiations and directly influenced the Constitutional Commission to include the property rights clause: a critical cornerstone of economic freedom.

The FMF has a wealth of information in papers, articles and opinion pieces available on the website which can influence the public debate and present alternative policies to the people of South Africa. Please look at our website www.freemarketfoundation.com. Also see Facebook and Twitter.

You can sign up as an individual or corporate member or make a donation online through our website.

The FMF relies on financial support from corporate and individual members and donors. All individuals and companies can donate and deduct a maximum of 10% of their taxable incomes to Section 18A approved public benefit organisations. The minimum annual payment we require is R250. All payments of R250 or more will be treated as a donation for which you will receive a Section 18A certificate for SARS.  (The FMF is a Section 18A approved Public Benefit Organisation / PBO Exemption No 930 017 343).

You can sign up as an individual or corporate member or make a donation online through our website http://www.freemarketfoundation.com/Donate  or email your contact details to accounts@fmfsa.org

TEL +27 11 884 0270 | FAX +27 11 884 5672 | EMAIL fmf@mweb.co.za
  PO Box 4056, CRAMERVIEW 2060
  Bryanston Gate, Block 5, Ground Floor, 170 Curzon Road, BRYANSTON



09 JULY 2018


Date : Tuesday, July 17

Time: 1330 for 1400-1530 (sandwiches at 1330)

Place: FMF (see address and map attached)

RSVP: By responding to this email

Speakers: Leon Louw (FMF) & Francois van der Merwe (Tobacco Institute)

The Tobacco Bill deals with public place smoking, point of sale display, vending machines, plain packaging, vaping, and more

It even goes so far as to ban smoking in homes where a domestic is employed

This law is bad for consumers, bad for small business, bad for the economy, bad for jobs, bad for democracy

Submissions on the bill are due by August 9

More information to follow shortly, but please reserve your seat by RSVPing now

Click here for the MAP bryanston gate front door
Click here for the Tobacco Bill summary
Click here for the Tobacco Bill SEIA summary