April 12, 2018

Nipped in the bud

WARNING TO SMOKERS…very soon you might find yourself with no place to light up.

In March 2018, Health Minister Aaron Motsaledi explained his plans of nipping public smoking in the bud by introducing new legislation pertaining to the smoking laws.

Motsaledi’s main aim is to impose a 100% ban on smoking in public places and said that “There should not be any space where we allow public smoking”. He went on to say that “this is already within the government’s legislation processing system” and “is not something we are going to start from the beginning, it is already happening.”

Motsaledi made it clear that this legislation relates to confined public places including hotels, restaurants, hospitals etc. Therefore, smoking and vaping in the privacy of your own home will not be a problem. However, smokers will feel the impact since some hotels and restaurants etc. currently make provision for a 25% smoking space which will soon be reduced to 0%.

Restaurants will therefore not be allowed to have any designated smoking areas, which could ultimately lead to the industry taking a huge knock in revenue (and ultimately a loss of revenue for government) as smokers may very well not see the need in spending their hard earned money for entertainment at these places, if they are not allowed to light up while having a cup of coffee or after enjoying a meal.

Smokers will also feel the impact of losing the convenience of easy access to tobacco products provided by vending machines, as these will need to be removed regardless of their location.

The regulations plan on removing all signage on cigarette packaging aside from the brand name and warning stickers, as well as prevent retailers from publicly displaying cigarettes and electronic cigarettes (which means that electronic cigarettes are included in this legislation).

While these new proposals have been praised by many, they have also been met with abrupt confrontation – especially by the multi-billion rand tobacco industry, the restaurant industry and also by smokers in general.

With the implementation of this new legislation being imminent, the question now more than ever remains…“to smoke, or not to smoke”?

Almie Fourie
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