If you’re a smoker, your days of requesting a table in the smoking section or quickly popping outside to have a puff in-between meals, are numbered.
That’s because Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has submitted a draft Tobacco Bill that seeks to heavily clamp down on where smokers are allowed to smoke and major restrictions on how tobacco manufacturers are allowed to advertise and package cigarettes.
The draft bill, officially referred to as the draft Control of Tobacco Products & Electronic Delivery Systems Bill, was gazetted on Wednesday and is currently open for public comment.
Among some of the key changes is a zero-tolerance stance on smoking in public places and enclosed workplace spaces is prohibiting smoking at restaurants – even in an enclosed, designated area – and an outright ban on smoking outside within a certain distance from a window, doorway or ventilation inlet.
Contravening this offence could land you in jail for three months.
The draft bill also proposes enforcing greater accountability on employers to protect their staff against exposure to unwarranted tobacco smoke by imposing up to a year jail term on employers who fail to ensure this.
In a bid to curtail incidences of second-hand smoke, Motsoaledi is also proposing a total ban on smoking in your car in you have more than one passenger and no smoking at all if you have a child who is under the age of 18 riding in your car.
Cigarette-makers are set to be hardest hit by an instruction to make cigarette packaging uniform among all brands, with all branding and colour combinations removed and just the cigarette maker’s logo and a health warning remaining on packaging.
Manufacturers are also prohibited from sponsoring corporate events with branding or that promotes or advertises cigarettes.
Cigarette brands who don’t adhere to the legislation could face a five-year jail term.
If a person responsible for displaying no smoking signs around public and workplace spaces fails to do so, that person could face up to five years in jail for non compliance.
The proposed legislation also applies to e-cigarettes, pipes and water pipes.
The public have until 9 August to submit comments on the proposed legislation and can be submitted to the department’s Chief Director of Health Promotion, Nutrition, Oral Health and Food Control Lynn Moen-Mahlangu on email@example.com