South Africa facing stricter anti-smoking laws including possible jail time

South Africa facing stricter anti-smoking laws including possible jail time

Beware if you are a cigarette smoker, e-cig user or vaper...

Cigarette ban

It seems like just yesterday when ALL tobacco products were banned as lockdown in South Africa began.

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Now, a year later, smokers are free to buy as many cartons as they please and pretty much spark up anywhere, but not for long.

Health Department officials have announced that even stricter anti-tobacco laws are close to being approved and implemented.

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The 'blanket ban' will affect tobacco product advertisements and influence sales and public smoking.

The proposed Bill,  the Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill, has been on the table since 2018, giving smokers some "freedom", although it is now closer to being finalised than ever before.

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Here are just a few of the ways the government is hoping to regulate the tobacco industry further:

  1. E-cigarettes and vaping accessories will face stricter regulations
  2. Implement a 100% public cigarette ban
  3. Limit the use and sales of certain tobacco products in SA, as well as marketing

Naturally, tobacco companies have expressed their annoyance and resentment towards these new changes that could be implemented and the damage it could cause to the industry.

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Ntando Shadrack Sibisi, the South Africa Tobacco Transformation Alliance (SATTA) chairman, says that there has been very clear opposition from the public with more than 21,000 comments being made after the first Tobacco Bill was published.

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Sibisi also addressed the fact that the tobacco industry has suffered incredible losses over the last year since the hard COVID-19 lockdown was implemented.

Unlike alcohol sales, which has improved significantly since lockdown restrictions have relaxed a bit, the tobacco industry hasn't experienced the same recovery, with massive losses in jobs, income, and revenue.

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Even Spar has noted that their alcohol sales have recovered while their cigarette sales have remained dismal.

The other part of the bill focuses on changing public smoking laws, so what exactly does that entail?

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It is looking to ban smoking in the following areas:

  • Enclosed common areas of multi-unit residence such as flats or apartments
  • Motor vehicles carrying a child aged 18 or under
  • Motor vehicles with more than one person in the car
  • Any indoor space that is within 'a reasonable distance' of premises with strict non-smoking regulations
  • Any private home/dwelling used for schooling purposes, childcare or employment

Breaking any of these laws would be considered a criminal offence.

Seems like smokers should enjoy their last bit of "freedom" while they still can.

Want to catch up on all your favourite duo's best moments? Listen to everything #StaceyAndJSbu below:

Main image courtesy of iStock

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