The National Department of Health reported that smokers are now facing the harsh reality of being jailed for 3 months for smoking in public. Employees that are exposed to smoking can report their employers for a year's jail sentence according to the new draft bill that was passed on Wednesday. The draft Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill (Cotped) created by Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and discussed on Wednesday, bans smoking in all enclosed public spaces and confined workplaces.
This affects smokers in a major way because it bans designated smoking areas in restaurants, vehicles with passengers and children under the age of 18. Branding (aside from the company's logo, will be banned with a consequence of 5 years in prison. The draft Bill says tobacco packaging must have a “uniform plain colour and texture. Tobacco use is extremely injurious to the health of smokers, non-smokers and other users of tobacco products,” the Bill reads. "[Smoking] has caused widespread addiction in society.”
Major points in the bill are:
Motsoaledi said the bill inflicts a jail term or a fine depending on the severity of the offence. “If caught smoking in banned areas, you will receive a fine or prison time up to 3 months, while those found guilty of manufacturing or importing tobacco products which do not meet the new requirements and existing standards could face a fine and imprisonment of up to 10 years.”
According to an American Cancer Society (ACS) article released earlier this year, more than 55 000 children between the ages of 10-14 years old and 6 321 000 adults 15 years and older use tobacco in South Africa on a daily basis.
The public has been given until the 9th of August to adjust the draft legislation before it is implemented by the National Assembly.