Tag Archive | Tobacco Products Act

New anti-smoking legislation generates queries

In a story which goes back to 2008, when the previous minister of health introduced the second round of major changes to the Tobacco Products Act, saying at that time that tobacco was the second leading preventable cause of death in South Africa and that 40% of smokers would die before reaching retirement age, a new and further set of smoking prohibitions have now been devised.

Earlier than 2008, legislation had already been extended to include a comprehensive ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship by tobacco products manufacturers and a smoking ban in public places was instituted, with  penalties for offences.

 The 2008 amendment Bill extended the advertising ban to include a further ban on all commercial communications of any kind designed to promote sales; the age restriction was increased to 18 years of age for buying and selling tobacco products and sales were banned through the post or by internet.   In addition, any donations made by manufacturers had to be made anonymously.

“Cigarette parties” were stopped through banning the distribution of free products and no non-tobacco products allowed in tandem for sale on cigarette vending machines, already restricted by earlier legislation where they were to be placed.

The new prohibitions gazetted by Minister Aaron Motsoaledi virtually ban all indoor smoking, even in previously designated smoking areas, it would seem, and even extends to smokers having to distance themselves from all others on a beach.     However, once again the anti-smoking prohibitions have drawn a line between public and private places.


The new proposals read:-

  • No person may smoke any tobacco product in any public place.
  • No person may smoke any tobacco product in the following outdoor public places:

(a) stadiums, arenas, sports facilities, playgrounds, zoos;

(b) premises of schools, or child care facilities;

(c) health facilities;

(d) outdoor eating or drinking areas;

(e) venues when outdoor events take place;

(f) covered walkways and covered parking areas;

(g) service areas and service lines; and

(h) beaches where public bathing is permitted, not less than 50 metres away

from the closest person near the demarcated swimming area.

As far as restaurants and bars are concerned, aside from creating separate designated “outdoor” smoking areas, it is not clear whether all existing “internal” smoking areas must be closed down with the new provision of disallowing smoking in all public places.

The proposals are that no food or refreshments can be served to the designated outdoor area; ashtrays must be installed and regularly cleaned; no entertainment can be provided (presumably meaning a TV set or monitor) and a call is made that smokers are to be “discouraged from remaining in the area longer than is necessary to smoke a cigarette”.

Warning notices on fines if smoking rules are not followed have to be installed.

On the subject of signage, all owners of buildings that are used by the public without exception must install or erect “no smoking” signage and in all workplaces, the signage being the internationally accepted red circle with a cigarette and line across the circle.

The new proposals have generated considerable comment, primarily regarding their enforceability by owners and from some parties, on their constitutionality.

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