Johannesburg - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s proposed stricter tobacco display rules would harm the retail business, a tobacconist said yesterday.
Tobacco specialist franchise JJ Cale chief executive Warren Dreyer objected to Motsoaledi’s draft regulations, which aim to limit the display of tobacco products in shops.
“We respectfully ask the minister of health to exempt specialist tobacconists from the proposed display regulations,” Dreyer said.
“Under the new regulation, we will need to fit more than 800 tobacco products into a 4m2 area. This includes pipes, cigarettes, tobacco, snuff, cigars that aren’t in humidors, and even hookah pipes.”
JJ Cale owns eight shops, all inside malls, which have an average area of 45m2. The firm employs 40 people.
The draft regulations were published in 2010 for public comment and amended in November 2012.
“In 2012, stores that are 15m2 or less were exempted; we’re asking for specialist tobacco stores to be exempt as well,” Dreyer said.
If the draft regulations were implemented, specialist shops such as Dreyer’s would limit the smaller brands’ exposure.
“This will limit consumers’ choice and entrench the market position of the larger companies… and may be anti-competitive,” Dreyer said.
Kevin Uren, the chief executive of Wicked Imports, which distributes tobacco products to 800 shops including Dreyer’s, said that the minister’s plan would not work.
“I don’t think it will curb smoking, it will just make it harder for people to buy them. Smokers will smoke,” he said.
Motsoaledi’s spokesman, Joe Maila, said that the contents of the final regulations could not be discussed until they were published.
“Members of the public and interested parties submitted their inputs and the department is considering all the submissions before the final regulations are passed and published,” Maila said. - Sapa