Tobacco law gets kick in the butt

Published Oct 3, 2011


All cigarettes in South Africa will have to extinguish themselves automatically if the smoker does not puff after a few minutes, if an amendment to the tobacco act is passed.

The amendment, due to be introduced into the Tobacco Products Control Act from November next year, is aimed at reducing house fires caused by negligent smokers.

“Cigarettes cause 6 percent of fires in South Africa and are the leading cause of fires in homes,” said Dr Yussuf Saloojee, executive director of the National Council Against Smoking.

Retailers would have 18 months to get rid of old stock.

Also on the cards are more severe limitations on tobacco advertising. “Although tobacco advertising is illegal in South Africa, retailers still use posters in their shops to encourage customers to buy the products,” said Saloojee. “Retailers will still be allowed to sell tobacco products, but they must not advertise (them).”

The council and the Department of Health will host a workshop in Joburg on Wednesday to assess the Tobacco Products Control Act, “where we will review the current status of the amendment, such as how many people it affects, and the prevalence of it in South Africa”, said Saloojee.

The act, passed in 1993, aimed to regulate smoking in public places and ban tobacco sales to under-16s. Some aspects of advertising, such as labelling, were regulated.

The act was amended in 1999 and all advertising of tobacco products was banned, and laws regarding smoking in public became more severe. It was amended again in 2007, to bring it in line with international conventions.

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