The price of delaying the Tobacco Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 19, 2021

Contact: Sharon Nyatsanza ncasmedia@mweb.co.za (+27 79 6661356) Statement of the National Council Against Smoking

Three years after the Control of Tobacco and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill was published for public comment by the government, it is still being finalized. A delay during which about 60 000 SA smokers died and approximately 1.8 million people became sick from cancer, heart, and lung disease. The need to stop using tobacco is more important than ever because of theCovid-19 pandemic, It also cost the economy R126 billion to treat tobacco users, those exposed to tobacco smoke, and in lost wages. That is the price the SA has paid for government dawdling.

The Bill’s purpose is to prevent youth from starting to smoke, to help those already addicted to nicotine to quit completely, and to protect non-smokers from secondhand smoke. These key policies are urgently needed but have stalled - stuck in government bureaucracy.

Calls to abandon the Bill by groups like the South Africa Tobacco Transformation Alliance (SATTA) then begs the question - who benefits from further delay? The US courts answered this question by finding that the tobacco companies lied and deceived the public “to make money with little, if any, regard for individual illness and suffering”.

-ENDS- Media Contact Sharon Nyatsanza T: +27 79 666 1356 E: ncasmedia@mweb.co.za

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