NATIONAL NEWS - The citizens of the Republic of South Africa have until middle August to comment on the proposed new Tobacco Control Bill.
The proposed Tobacco Control Bill has caused uproar as it suggests jail time (up to three months) for persons who smoke in public conveyance, who smoke in cars containing either other persons or any person under the age of 18 and for persons who smoke in their own homes if they employ a domestic worker, garden services, tutor or au-pair.
The proposed bill will also make it illegal for restaurants, pubs and clubs to have designated smoking areas inside.
Furthermore, smoking inside any building will be prohibited, as will smoking in certain outdoor spaces such as beaches and sport stadiums.
The proposed bill also holds property owners responsible for anyone that smokes on their property.
Should you own property and fail to display sufficiently visible “no smoking” signs, you could be jailed for up to a year.
If the proposed bill is passed, smokers will essentially only be able to smoke in a designated area outside that is at least five metres away from doors and windows.
If this bill is successfully passed, the tobacco industry will face major changes.
The bill also proposes plain packaging for cigarettes, such as that which has already been implemented in Australia.
The danger of plain packaging is that it opens the door to illicit trade by making it easier for crooks to disguise illegal cigarettes as the real thing.
South Africa has already lost R27 billion in revenue since 2010 due to the illicit trade of cigarettes, and this loss could potentially increase by 30% after the proposed bill is passed, if the trend in Australia holds true.
This bill is also radically different to previous legislation in that it classifies e-cigarettes and vaporisers as tobacco dispense devices, which means that they will be subject to the same aforementioned new rules which will apply to cigarettes.
South Africans have the power to stop this bill in its tracks by submitting their comments on it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org before August 10.