Health-e News – New SA Smoking Laws ‘in 2 weeks’


Originally published For Health-e News
Witten by Kerry Cullinan


Regulations to ban smoking in all public spaces, remove branding from cigarettes packs and control electronic cigarettes will be published within two weeks.

The 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH), Cape Town, South Africa,
JoseŽ Luis Castro, WCTOH co-chair; Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health, South Africa.
Photo©The Union/Steve Forrest/Workers’ Photos

This is according to Health Director General Precious Matsoso, who was speaking on the sidelines of the World Conference on Tobacco or Health, which opened for the first time in Africa yesterday.

“I had hoped they would be published this week to coincide with the conference, but they are still being discussed by the Cabinet sub-committee,” said Matsoso.

Two years ago, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi indicated that government wanted to introduce the new regulations but admitted yesterday that South Africa had “lagged behind” in its fight against tobacco control.

“In 2005, we compromised and allowed smoking in 25 percent of public spaces but we are going to take that space away to protect everyone,” said Motsoaledi, addressing the opening the conference.

“We are also committed to plain packaging,” he added. “We are looking at regulating all nicotine delivery systems including electronic systems because we need to control those.”

Fighting back

“All the signs are there that the tobacco industry is staging a fight-back after a slew of tobacco control legislation in the past two decades,” said Motsoaledi. “They are targeting young people in Africa. In the US, they are targeting African American people, the homeless and mentally ill. They are targeting young, working class and the most vulnerable people. We need activism against this onslaught.”

The tobacco industry and the food industry used job creation to defend themselves against government regulation “but are we creating these jobs for corpses?” asked the minister.

Meanwhile, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that Africa was “ground zero” for tobacco companies, who had identified it as a major growth market.

But, said Tedros, six out of 10 people in the world were now protected by some of the measures developed by the WHO against smoking, and that eight African countries had introduced picture warnings of he effects of smoking on cigarette packs.

No co-operation

Tedros appealed to all governments not to co-operate with the tobacco industry, including the recently formed Foundation for a Smoke-free World, financed by Marlboro manufacturer Philip Morris, and headed by former WHO official Derek Yach.

Billionaire philanthropist and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg warned that “one billion people will die this century from smoking despite our efforts”.

“The tobacco industry is doing everything to circumvent our efforts to control tobacco to sell a product that is deadly and kills the people who use it,” said Bloomberg, who has donated over $1-billion to tobacco control.

However, Bloomberg said there had been remarkable gains: “In the US, you cannot go into a restaurant and smoke. In Shanghai, the government owns the tobacco companies but it no longer allows smoking in public.”

New Stricter Tobacco Laws On The Cards For RSA

The crackdown on smoking for SKouth Africans is about to become much tougher as government gets ready to tighten the regulations. The change in the tobacco control act of 1993 comes under further change as South Africa falls in line with international standards after joining WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on July 18, 2005. These changes are still up for comment and discussion in parliament at the beginning of this year.


Information Originally appeared on

Smoke Free Places: Designated smoking areas in indoor workplaces, public places, and public transport are allowed. For workplaces and specified public places, up to 25 percent of floor space may be set aside for smoking. Specified public places include: smoking establishments, bars, pubs, taverns, night clubs, casinos, restaurants, hotels, guesthouses, Bed & Breakfasts, game lodges, and airports. In passenger ships and passenger trains with more than 10 cars, up to 25 percent of the space may be designated as smoking areas. Passenger trains with fewer than 10 cars may designate only one car as a smoking area. Sub-national jurisdictions can enact smoke free laws that are more stringent than the national law.

Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship: Nearly all forms of tobacco advertising and promotion are prohibited, with certain exceptions including that tobacco products may be visible at point of sale but must be displayed in such a manner that customers may not handle tobacco products prior to purchase. Although sponsorship by the tobacco industry is not completely prohibited, publicity of the sponsorship is prohibited.

Tobacco Packaging and Labeling: Rotating text-only health warnings covering 15 percent of the front of the package and 25 percent of the back of the package are required on cigarette packaging. Misleading packaging and labeling, including terms such as “light” and “low tar,” is prohibited.

Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation: The Tobacco Products Control Act 83 of 1993 is the primary tobacco control law in South Africa and governs many aspects of tobacco control, including, but not limited to, public smoking restrictions; packaging and labeling of tobacco products; and tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Several tobacco control regulations have been issued under this law including: 1) Regulations Relating to the Labeling, Advertising, and Sale of Tobacco Products (which regulates packaging and labeling); 2) Notice Relating to Smoking of Tobacco Products in Public Places (which regulates public smoking); 3) Regulations Relating to the Point of Sale of Tobacco Products (which regulates signs at point of sale and product display); and 4) Regulations Relating to Provisions for Exemption For Unintended Consequences and the Phasing out of Existing Sponsorship or Contractual Obligations (which exempts cross-border advertising from the ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship).