Non-smokers may appreciate tighter smoking laws but smokers and a local liquor association are not happy about the proposed rules.

Cape Town - Non-smokers may appreciate tighter smoking laws but smokers and a local liquor association are not happy about the proposed rules.

Members of the Township Liquor Industry Association (Tolia) have rejected Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s attempts to push through a ban on smoking in all public places.

Tolia president Gus Ntlokwana said the proposed regulations were completely unrealistic.

“We expect the government to support entrepreneurship, the creation of jobs and the sustainability of our businesses; not to do all they can to impose heavy regulations that force us to treat our smoking customers like lepers and that may put us out of business.”

Ntlokwana said that for as long as he could remember smokers and non-smokers had “coexisted peacefully” and recognised each other’s space.

“We have worked hard to build our businesses. We employ people from townships and we are not a burden on taxpayers,” he said.

The proposed laws will set down stricter conditions for smokers including the distance a smoker can be from other people in public.

The government also wants to ban smoking within 10m of building entrances, to make all buildings smoke-free zones and to ban smoking at beaches, schools, stadiums and in outdoor drinking and eating areas.

Jeff Rosenberg, chairman of the hotel segment for the Federated Hospitality Association of SA, said the more stringent legislation would definitely present more challenges for the hospitality industry.

“Operators will need to ensure they comply with the legislation - as well as looking after their smoking guests.”

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Cape Argus