Is it the end of smoking?

“I am both a smoker and business owner that sells cigarettes. I understand that new legislation is being proposed that will affect me as a smoker and my business. Is this true and what should I be preparing for?”

You are correct in that a new draft Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery System Bill, 2018 (“Bill”) was published for comment in May of this year. The Bill has received mixed reviews with many of its provisions being flagged as controversial.

The Bill will essentially replace the entire existing Tobacco Products Control Act 83 of 1993 and proposes a new dispensation in respect of the control, manufacture, selling and use of tobacco products, including so-called vaping products or e-cigarettes. As such the implications of the new Bill are quite extensive and would need to be carefully assessed for impact by a potentially affected person or business.

Some of the key aspects that can be highlighted from the Bill are the following:

•    The inclusion of what the Bill terms “electronic delivery systems” or commonly known as vaping systems under the scope of the smoking legislation. 
•    The Bill appears to ban indoor smoking, by prohibiting smoking in enclosed, or partially enclosed public places and workplaces. This ban on smoking, also includes electronic delivery systems. 
•    Smoking in a private residence is also prohibited if the dwelling is used for commercial childcare activity, domestic employment or schooling or tutoring. 
•    Smoking in a car where a child under 18 years of age is present is prohibited, increasing this prohibition from the previous 12 years age limit. 
•    Additional restrictions on outdoor smoking areas are imposed. 
•    The sale of tobacco products and electronic delivery systems through vending machines is prohibited. 
•    Strict regulation of the advertising and promotion of tobacco products and information relating to such products.
•    The regulation and standardisation of the packaging and removal of branding on tobacco products.
  The imposition of imprisonment for certain transgressions of the Bill ranging from 3 months up to 10 years, including the imposition of fines.

Whether the Bill will be passed as it now stands will have to be seen. What is clear is that Government is moving towards a zero-tolerance approach to smoking and smoker and business owner alike should carefully monitor further developments relating to this draft legislation.

July 12, 2018
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