The window for public comment on the draft Tobacco Control Bill closed yesterday. The proposed changes include the regulation of e-cigarettes, a call for no indoor smoking areas, plain packaging for tobacco products and no advertising at till points or vending machines for cigarettes.
The eKasi Entrepreneurship Movement, a non-profit company founded in 2012 and which is focused on developing township entrepreneurship, said the bill would have dire consequences.
The organisation said, while it supported the Health Department’s goal of developing interventions to protect and promote the health of South Africans, the rights of millions of people were at stake should the proposed bill come into effect.
“Their rights as guaranteed in the Constitution will be negatively affected, violated and denied. The proposed ban relating to the display of tobacco products at wholesale and retail, and other similar provisions will not only destroy township and informal businesses, but also our heritage and township cultures. Tavern owners, hawkers and informal businesses are all concerned ,” said the organisation.