The Tobacco Control Bill gets the green light to proceed to Parliament: No more delays, urges NCAS
The National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) applauds the approval of the Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill by Cabinet, giving a green light for it to proceed to Parliament. The Tobacco Control Bill contains many vital public health provisions, which will protect the rights and health of children, non-smokers, and smokers alike. It is also set to reduce the disease burden and lost productivity resulting from tobacco use and exposure to smoke, which costs South Africa R42 billion rand annually.
“We want to see the Tobacco Control Bill in Parliament without further excessive delays” says Prof Lekan Ayo-Yusuf, Director of NCAS and Head of the School of Health Systems. “The delays so far have been detrimental to the country, many lives have been lost to tobacco related diseases, and more children have been hooked to nicotine. Causing considerable economic loss through rising health costs and loss of productivity. The main contribution of tobacco to the economy has been increased health costs and lost productivity.”
The Tobacco Control Bill will shield children from multimillion rand advertising and promotion campaigns designed to get teenagers to think that smoking, including using hubbly bubbly and e-cigarettes is ‘cool’ and not a deadly addiction. Most smokers start smoking as children, and those who start using nicotine at a young age have greater nicotine dependence than those who start later. Stopping tobacco and nicotine use in children before they start occupies a central part of the Tobacco Control Bill. Failure to regulate marketing, use and sale e-cigarettes and tobacco, is a failure to preserve children’s freedom of choice and freedom from nicotine addiction.
Many non-smokers in South Africa are forced to inhale tobacco smoke against their will in public places and in workplaces. Some people go to great lengths to avoid second-hand smoke, including seating in non-smoking areas in hospitality venues, but this does not afford sufficient protection. Smoke still drifts from designated ‘smoking sections’ to non-smoking sections, leaving many unknowingly exposed to a significant amount of tobacco smoke. By outlawing smoking in public indoor areas and some outdoor public places the Bill will guarantee the public’s constitutional right to a healthy environment.
The Bill also creates a quit friendly environment encouraging more smokers to think about and to quit smoking. Implementing plain packs with graphic health warnings will reduce the appeal of smoking, make health warnings more effective, change smoking attitudes and reduce smoking prevalence as more people quit smoking. We call on anyone looking to quit to contact the National Council Against Smoking Quitline on 011 720 3145 or via WhatsApp on 072 766 4812 for support.
The tobacco and e-cigarette industry and those with vested interests will mount campaigns to pressure policymakers to delay, dilute and or ditch the Tobacco Control Bill, their bottom line is to addict more people and make more profits. We urge the policymakers not to abdicate their responsibility to the public to enact laws to protect their lives and health, they should ignore any delaying tactics of the tobacco and e-cigarette industry and its proxies and proceed to pass the Bill. We cannot wait any longer.
For further information please contact:
Dr Sharon Nyatsanza
Deputy Director - National Council Against Smoking
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com