- The current tobacco ban amid the Covid-19 lockdown has been the subject of immense debate
- The issue has fueled numerous legal battles against the state as the industry revolts against the prohibition
- Briefly.co.za explores whether or not the government is considering a total ban on public smoking
The decision to ban the sale of tobacco products amid the Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa has been immensely controversial.
While it remains to be seen if the government will cave into industry demands to lift the prohibition, it seems as if more drama is brewing on the horizon.
Speaking during a virtual meeting to mark the World Health Organization's World No Tobacco Day, Deputy Health Minister Dr Joe Paahla confirmed that the state is finalising a law that will ban all public smoking.
This bill is already being passed through the final stages of implementing the legislation according to Paahla:
“We’re finalising the Tobacco Control Bill to close the gap to protect the public from harmful effects of tobacco use. We continue to identify areas that need strengthening in terms of legislation. We want to change the 25% allowed smoking in public areas to 100% prohibition of smoking in public areas. The regulation of the electronic delivery systems and related products, we want to bring them into the fold so that they can also be controlled."
Paahla is a fierce advocate of the current ban, saying that it was the right call despite the backlash:
“The tobacco ban remains the right one. Of the 8 million deaths a year worldwide, 1.2 million of those are passive smokers."
The Deputy Minister says that a steady decline in lung-cancer fatalities has been noted over the past few years, continuing to say that:
“Tobacco is a risk factor in coronary heart disease leading to what is commonly known as heart attacks. It causes several types of cancers, among them lung cancer."
Meanwhile, Briefly.co.za reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa had admitted that allowing Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to make the announcement that the ban will be extended was ultimately a mistake.
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