Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill brings SA into line with new international conventions, strengthens tobacco control, and promotes health.
The National Council Against Smoking applauds the publication today of the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill. The Bill contains many vital public health provisions.
The Bill is important in helping to communicate accurate and understandable information to the public. Picture health warnings on packs will communicate the dangers of smoking in a realistic way.
It will also end a consumer fraud perpetrated on the public by the industry. Many smokers mistakenly believe that low-tar cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes. The use of terms like light and mild deliberately perpetuate this myth. There is no scientific evidence that one type of cigarette is less toxic or less harmful than any other.
The Bill also gives teeth to the current restrictions on smoking in public places. Restaurants and bars may have disregarded a puny R200 fine but will have to take a R20 000 fine more seriously. Part of the role of a fine is to deter and the new fines will deter law-breakers. Those who comply with the law have nothing to fear from the new fines.
There can be no doubt that high penalties will be a deterrent an ensure still greater levels of compliance with the law. This is necessary particularly in the hospitality and entertainment industries where we see the lowest levels of compliance with the tobacco laws. This is a business sector where clients and staff need greater protection said Dr Yussuf Saloojee, executive director of the National Council Against Smoking.
The tobacco industry has by-passed the prohibition on tobacco advertising and continued to glamourise cigarettes by sponsoring parties and social events for young students. This is a clear violation of the spirit and purpose of the 1999 Tobacco Act,added Saloojee The Bill will ensure that this practice ends and make it more difficult for the industry to addict the next generation.
The tobacco and hospitality industry will raise the usual arguments about financialand job losses caused by the new Bill but in country-after-country these claims have proved to be spurioussaid Peter Ucko, director of the National Council Against Smoking. The New York Times on Wednesday, 15 October 2003 noted that despite the dire economic predictions that preceded it, the smoking ban in New York City does not appear to have drastically depressed business. From March to June, the city created 10 000 new restaurant and bar jobs, according to the Department of Labour.
Tobacco control makes good health and economic sense. (Source: Peter Ucko: Director, National Council Against Smoking http://www.againstsmoking.org/>www.againstsmoking.org 17 October 2003). Link:http://www.polity.org.za/pol/bill/