Bad times lie in wait for millions of our tobacco enthusiasts, we’re afraid. South Africa is clamping down on the harmful practice with a new set of smoking laws. And boy, are they laying down some strict ground rules here.
New smoking laws threaten to punish law-breakers
A number of proposals have been featured on the Tobacco Products and Control Bill. The legislation looks to ban smoking in almost all public places, and better regulate tobacco traders going forward. One expert from the Health Department has, this week, outlined the plans further.
Dr. Tshimi Lynn Moeng-Mahlangu is determined to ensure that the new smoking laws do more to protect children. In terms of vendors, she wants to eliminate displays of cigarettes that are nearby to shelves with sweets, toys, or other kid-friendly items:
“It’s a constitutional imperative for government to protect our citizens from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. If you have a crèche where the owner or there are people smoking or have children in the car and adults are smoking, that alone is a problem.
“That’s because it means children will be exposed to the smoking. Even now, in some of our shops, you can quite clearly see that the cigarette packets are placed next to sweets, which means even children can have access to them.” | Dr. Tshimi Lynn Moeng-Mahlangu
Stern jail sentences for any offenders who ‘threaten minors’
This is where the hardcore stance really comes into full view. According to the new smoking laws, harsher punishments will be laid down for any business that is caught selling cigarettes to minors. In fact, traders caught doing this could be slapped with a 15-year jail sentence.
- The proposed bill will become law, when Cyril Ramaphosa officially signs-off on it
“Anyone individual or any business that sells cigarettes to a minor can be fined or sentenced to up to 15 years in prison: This includes companies that distribute any confectionery, toy, or any items that resemble or likely promote the related reduced-risk products.”
“The new Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Control Bill is currently before Parliament. The bill proposes the legislation of e-cigs for the first time, and the introduction of 100% smoke-free areas – including in some public areas, workplaces or vehicles.” | SA Government