Tobacco and e-cigarettes – The way forward
The Minister of Health released the Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill of 2018 earlier this year.
The main focus of the Bill is to regulate where smoking can take place, together with the sale and advertising of tobacco products and electronic delivery systems, including packaging. The aim is to limit the exposure of non-smokers to the hazardous effects of second-hand smoking.
Electronic delivery systems include what is commonly known as ‘e-cigarettes’. Electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes) are often marketed as less harmful and a mechanism to quit smoking. However, the Minister of Health has chosen to regulate these devices in the same manner as cigarettes, as the long-term effects of e-cigarettes on our health have not been established.
The key elements of the Bill include:
- You may not smoke:
- indoors in a public place (zero tolerance on indoor smoking policy);
- on public transport (e.g. buses or trains);
- in the workplace;
- within a prescribed distance from a place designated as a non-smoking area (this includes common areas in housing complexes);
- in any motor vehicle where there is a child under the age of 18 years and there is more than one person in such a motor vehicle; and
- in a private residence if you run a commercial childcare facility on the premises, if you employ a domestic worker, or provide schooling or tutoring there.
- Manufacturers must use standardised packaging, with only the brand name and the product name appearing on the packaging, together with information advising of the health hazards posed by smoking (including images).
- No advertising, promotion or sponsorship of tobacco products and electronic delivery systems is permitted, whether directly or indirectly. Retailers may not advertise or display these products. They are also not allowed to sell to persons under the age of 18 years.
The penalties faced by offenders can vary from a fine and/or a jail sentence of up to three months, to a fine and/or a jail sentence of up to 10 years (depending on the seriousness of the offence). The fine for lighting up in a non-smoking area will be R500.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)