Cape Town - The City of Cape Town said on Friday it was seeking legal opinion from the national health department on whether to limit the use of electronic cigarettes in line with existing anti-tobacco legislation.
“We are trying to see if there is a scope to do that,” said mayoral committee member for health Benedicta van Minnen.
“There are limitations with the current legislation, it is not included.”
Van Minnen said the city had in the past three months received a growing number of complaints about the use of e-cigarettes in public.
“The jury is still out on exactly how safe, or not, e-cigarettes are,” she said.
“We know that some establishments allow the use of these devices indoors because they emit vapour instead of smoke.”
Van Minnen said the view had been that electronic cigarettes could not be read into the definition of tobacco products because they did not contain tobacco, but delivered vaporised nicotine.
Therefore their use was not banned under the current legislation. However, the national health department was considering whether it should review this position.
Van Minnen said without a national policy review the city could only prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes through by-laws, or failing that, the provincial government could consider passing regional legislation. - Sapa