New proposals for changes to South Africa’s smoking laws will be presented within the next two weeks, according to department of health director-general, Precious Matsoso.
Matsoso was speaking to IOL on the sidelines of the World Conference on Tobacco or Health on Wednesday.
Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi previously outlined the expected changes to the laws when he presented the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act in 2017, which he said would be submitted to cabinet for approval early in 2018.
The regulations plan to ban smoking in all public spaces, remove branding from cigarettes packs and control electronic cigarettes.
The proposals, first mooted in 2015, have garnered significant public interest as they propose a number of strict new smoking laws, including:
- A zero-tolerance policy on in-door smoking in public places (including the removal of designated smoking areas in restaurants);
- A ban on outdoor smoking in public places;
- When smoking outside, smokers must be at least 10 metres away from public entrances;
- The removal of all signage on cigarette packaging aside from the brand name and warning stickers;
- Cigarettes may no longer be publicly displayed by retailers.
While the new proposals have been praised by some, they are also likely to be met with steep resistance – especially in the multi-billion rand business sector.