New smoking laws in South Africa

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Department of Health Director-General Precious Matsoso has announced that new proposals for changes to South Africa’s smoking laws will be presented in the next two weeks.

The regulations plan to ban smoking in all public spaces, remove branding from cigarettes packs and control electronic cigarettes.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi previously outlined the expected changes when he presented the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act last year.

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.

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