NCAS calls on the finance minister to increase excise tax on tobacco to cover the cost of the harm

The National Council Against Smoking hosted a media briefing on tobacco tax and illicit trade today, calling on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to increase excise tax on tobacco products by 18 percentage points to 70%. Mboweni delivers the Mid-Term Budget Policy Statement next week, on October 24, 2018. South Africa currently collects about R13 billion a year in taxes from tobacco sales while the tobacco-related harm costs South Africa R59 billion each year. The taxes collected cover just a fraction of the harm while the rest of the burden is carried by the taxpayer. This figure does not even begin to quantify the human cost of ill-health and early death. Increasing excise taxes can address th

The National Council Against Smoking calls on SA to support e-cigarette regulation

With 10 days left before comments for the new tobacco control bill closes, The National Council Against Smoking is calling on South Africa to show their support for the bill. The Draft Tobacco Bill is out for public comment until 9 August 2018 and the NCAS welcomes the proposed regulation of e-cigarettes outlined in the bill as well as the call for no indoor smoking areas, plain packaging for tobacco products, no advertising at till points or vending machines for cigarettes. “The regulation of e-cigarettes is necessary because of the health harm that they cause both to the user, and the non-user exposed to the toxins that are emitted from the product,” says NCAS Executive Director Savera Kal

Increasing tobacco taxes saves lives and raises revenue

The explosive details that have emerged from the Nugent Commission in the past weeks have pieced together a telling tale of deliberate interference in the monitoring of the illicit tobacco trade at the South African Revenue Service. Among the latest revelations – the retraction by Judge Frank Kroon, former head of the services’ advisory board, that the investigation unit known as the rogue unit was operating unlawfully – is critical. Kroon’s admission means that Johann van Loggerenberg and his team, before they were publicly humiliated and booted from the revenue service, were in fact on the right track when they pursued some tobacco companies for their involvement in the illicit tobacco tra

Clamping down on illegal tobacco trade is possible with political will

COMMENTS for the draft Tobacco Control Bill have closed after three months and the Department of Health is moving into the next phase of deliberating on the submissions it received. This is a lengthy process that could take several months and might include portfolio committee discussions in Parliament. In all likelihood, the bill will be finalised in the later part of next year. The bill is important for the average South African. In essence, it aims to reduce the prevalence of smokers, which has plateaued at 19% of the population for the past decade. It does this by removing indoor smoking areas and regulating the use and sale of e-cigarettes. And it aims to protect 81% of the population fr

Not enough evidence that e-cigarettes help to quit smoking

There are substantial research gaps in proving the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as quit smoking aids. The 2018 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report found limited evidence on the effectiveness of e-cigarettes to promote quitting. Additionally, e-cigarettes are not approved as quit aids by the U.S. Preventative Service Task Force. There is, however, some evidence that supports the use of e-cigarettes as quit devices. A study published in 2016 reported that within two randomized control trials, e-cigarettes with nicotine helped individuals quit better than e-cigarettes without nicotine. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report also report

E-cigarettes: it’s time for some regulation

They've become a familiar sight in public places: a cloud of smoke billowing into the air as a shopper, student or pedestrian uses an e-cigarette and releases “smoke” into the air. There are two reasons why those who use e-cigarettes are currently able to do so in public. Firstly, there is no legislation that regulates the use of e-cigarettes in South Africa. The current tobacco control law was introduced more than two decades ago, at a time when e-cigarettes were not available. This is why e-cigarettes are being used inside restaurants and malls, in public transport and office buildings, as well as on the streets. There are no laws governing their use. Secondly, there are no laws governing