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