The draft regulations would criminalise smoking in any building, outdoor venue, public or private beach, outdoor drinking or eating area, park, walkway, parking area, or within 10 metres of any doorway or window.

More than 44 000 South Africans die each year from tobacco-related diseases – an average of about 120 a day.

May 31 marks World No Tobacco Day, and the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) has put the spotlight on the tobacco industry’s harmful tactics by hosting awareness campaigns across the country.

In the fight for a smoke-free environment, South Africans are encouraged to by a sticker for R5 from any Cansa care centre and wear it on No Tobacco Day.

Cansa is also aiming to help smokers with its eKick Butt programme, a unique – and free – online programme that aims to kick the addiction through a series of e-mails, surveys and downloads which guide smokers through the process of quitting.

“We aim to educate policy makers and the general public about the tobacco industry’s harmful and dark marketing tactics of promoting tobacco products in clandestine ways, enticing women and young people to become smokers,” said Cansa chief executive Sue Janse van Rensburg.

According to the Tobacco Control Act, tobacco advertising, including viral marketing, is restricted.

In April, the act was amended by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, banning smoking at sporting matches, concerts, children’s playgrounds, flea markets, beaches and outdoor seating at restaurants and bars.

Dr Yusuf Salojee, executive director of the SA National Council Against Smoking, welcomed the measures.

“People must never forget that breathing other people’s tobacco smoke can cause asthma attacks and it can provoke a heart attack, and we know that second-hand smoke causes lung cancer,” he said.

Janse van Rensburg said a big concern was hookah (hubbly-bubbly) smoking.

“While people may think this is safer than cigarettes, it is in fact deadly.

“Smoking one hookah pipe can give you as much nicotine as smoking 10 cigarettes,” she said. - Daily News