Vaping activists say the latest tobacco bill is ignorant and not based on scientific evidence. The vaping industry says it wants to be seen as a partner in South Africa's health agenda because it is less harmful than smoking.
The Africa Harm Reduction Alliance (AHRA) says its intention is to give simple messaging to individuals who want to stop smoking.
Dr Delon Human, co-founder of AHRA and president of Health Diplomats, says the government wants to treat e-cigarettes in the same way that tobacco products are treated, falsely conflating vaping with smoking tobacco and, equally falsely, attributing the rise in the vaping industry to tobacco companies.
In May, the cabinet approved the draft Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill, which proposes a ban on smoking in all public buildings - and within 10 metres of buildings. It also advocates for plain packaging with pictorial health warnings and a ban on smoking in private cars carrying passengers.
The bill extends the definition of smoking to include electronic delivery systems (e-cigarettes) and heat-not-burn tobacco products.
According to Human, who says AHRA is an independent organisation that does not endorse any industry products, vaping and e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes.