Tobacco use is a threat to any person, regardless of gender, age, and race, cultural or educational background that causes over 18 types of cancer, and accounts for over 20% of cancer deaths worldwide. CANSA advocates stopping the use of any and all tobacco products.

Tobacco can be found in many forms, and all tobacco use is harmful. “People only think of cigarette smoking when you talk about tobacco, but it goes beyond that. They need to be aware that hubbly bubbly and e-cigarettes are just as harmful to your health and the health of those around you. It’s not just the smoker who has increased risk of disease, but also people exposed to second-hand smoke,” says CANSA Health Specialist, Prof Michael Herbst.

Tobacco Products Expensive

On top of the health implications, tobacco products are getting more expensive and are creating a huge negative impact on the economy.

“The tobacco industry produces and markets products that kill millions of people prematurely, rob households of finances that could have been used for food and education, and impose immense healthcare costs on families, communities and countries,” says Dr Oleg Chestnov, World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Assistant Director-General for Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Mental Health.

“There is so much more you can do with an average R30 a day, instead of buying a pack of cigarettes. Have you thought about that? Giving up smoking one pack a day, will free up close to R1 000 a month, which can be used in better ways than harming your health, and the health of those around you. The financial impact is huge,” adds Herbst.

Hookah, or hubbly bubbly use is especially concerning among the youth. The tobacco is no less toxic in a hookah pipe and the water in the hookah does not filter out the toxic ingredients in the tobacco smoke. Hookah smokers may actually inhale more tobacco smoke than cigarette smokers do, because of the large volume of smoke they inhale in one smoking session. In South Africa, hubbly and their related tobacco products, fall under the definition of ‘tobacco product’ as indicated in the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act (2007). This means that its use and sale have to comply with the regulations that apply to a tobacco product in the country. This includes the prohibition of the sale of hookahs and their products to anyone under the age of eighteen.

Electronic cigarettes and similar devices are frequently marketed as aids to quit smoking, or as healthier alternatives to tobacco. This has not been proven, and e-cigarettes are not a better alternative to cigarettes. They still contain harmful chemicals, and it’s rather recommended to quit smoking by proven treatments. CANSA has a e-Kick Butt programme, which assists with quitting smoking (,” continues Herbst.

Know the law – it’s Your Right to a Smoke-free World

CANSA has played a significant role in contributing to tobacco control legislation in South Africa. Every person should be able to breathe tobacco-smoke-free air. Smoke-free laws protect the health of non-smokers. Report offenses here

  • Legislation is very clear about where people may smoke and where smoking is prohibited
  • It’s your right to complain when someone smokes in your presence
  • It’s also your right to take remedial steps if someone smokes in any area where smoking is prohibited
  • Adults may not smoke in a car when a passenger under 12 years is present
  • Smoking is not allowed in premises (including private homes) used for commercial childcare activities, such as crèches, or for schooling or tutoring
  • No person under 18 may be allowed into a designated smoking area
  • No smoking in partially enclosed public places such as balconies, covered patios, verandas, walkways, parking areas, etc.
  • The fine for the owner of a restaurant, pub, bar and workplace that breaks the smoking law is a maximum of R50 000 and for the individual smoker R500
  • The tobacco industry can no longer use ‘viral’ marketing like parties to target young people
  • The sale of tobacco products to and by persons under the age of 18 years is prohibited
  • Cigarette vending machines that sell tobacco products cannot be used to sell other products like crisps, chocolates etc.

Download all the materials and infographics here