Should the new proposed Tobacco Bill will be passed, smokers will face several difficulties when looking to light one up. The burgeoning vaping and e-cigarette industry will also be facing a few potential financial and regulatory hurdles.
Also read: Alcohol and tobacco products now cost more in SA with new vaping tax on the cards
Current smoking laws forbid smoking in public areas but allow for designated smoking areas that take up less than 25% of places such as restaurants, multi-unit residences, and bars.
Should the new laws pass, this would change to a 100% prohibition of smoking in these public areas, including workplaces of any form.
This means that homeowners may be banned from smoking if non-smoking tutors, domestic workers or gardeners etc. are present. Additionally, there will be a ban on smoking in vehicles when multiple passengers or any persons under the age of 18 years are present.
Those caught smoking in banned areas may be subjected to a fine or jail time for up to three months.
The Department of Health posted a summary of the bill, in accordance with Rule 271 of the National Assembly, in the Government Gazette last month.
Here’s what the new bill will provide for:
- 100% smoke-free for indoor public spaces and certain outdoor areas as may be prescribed by the minister
- The ban on the sale of cigarettes through vending machines
- Plain packaging with graphic health pictorials and warnings
- Ban on display at point-of-sale
- The control and regulation of electronic nicotine delivery systems and non-nicotine delivery systems and to provide for matters connected therewith
The new proposed Tobacco Bill will not be sparing e-cigarettes and non-nicotine systems.
According to Dr Catherine Egbe, a specialist scientist at The South African Medical Research Council, these devices will be regulated, and advertising and marketing of them will be far stricter than it currently is.
Egbe argues that there never was any evidence to justify that e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to regular cigarettes, as many companies have been implying.
“That was just propaganda by the vaping or e-cigarette industry. There was never any evidence. Even South African studies that we have done haven’t shown that people who use e-cigarettes actually quit for good.”
Not only will the new bill bring tighter regulation and controls on e-cigarettes and vapes, but there will also be higher taxes implemented as the government aims to clamp down on oils and tools used.
The negative effects smoking has on your body and the environment