The allure of a cigarette, especially a beloved brand, has always been a source of satisfaction for smokers. However, the government is on a mission to enact significant changes in the realm of smoking.
The Portfolio Committee on Health is gearing up to launch a series of public hearings on the Tobacco Products and Electronic Systems Control Bill (B33-2022) this weekend from 18 to 20 August 2023.
The aim of the Bill is to fortify public health measures and harmonise South African tobacco control laws with the World Health Organisation Framework Convention. Simultaneously, the Bill intends to repeal the Tobacco Control Act of 1993 (Act No. 83 of 1993).
The proposed legislative and policy amendments encompass a range of critical areas, with the following key provisions:
- Indoor public places and certain outdoor areas that will be determined to be 100% smoke-free.
- Ban the sale of cigarettes through vending machines.
- Plain packaging with graphic health warnings and pictorials.
- Ban on display at point-of-sale.
- The regulation and control of electronic nicotine delivery systems and no nicotine delivery systems.
Acknowledging past court rulings highlighting inadequacies in public participation during the legislative process, both Parliament and the broader legislative sector have committed to enhancing this crucial aspect of democracy.
“The hearings are in line with Chapter 59 (1) of South Africa’s Constitution, which compels the National Assembly to facilitate public involvement in the legislative process. Furthermore, the legislative sector adopted a public participation model that places public consultation at the centre of its business,” said Dr Kenneth Jacobs, Chairperson of the committee.
In an effort to ensure a comprehensive engagement process, the committee has planned hearings on both weekdays and weekends. This approach seeks to accommodate various stakeholders, organisations, and individuals, allowing them ample opportunity to contribute.
The hearings will be conducted across two to three districts per province, ensuring equitable access for residents across different regions. In response to public demand, the committee has extended the deadline for written submissions to 4 September 2023, providing extra time for individuals and organizations to contribute their perspectives.
Though the exact date for public hearings in KwaZulu-Natal remains to be announced, members of the public can submit written contributions via email to: email@example.com.
Alternatively, submissions can be made online through the following link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfjWlMn59a9z58aNNN6UYWWAeP14_m7p0oJQARaSGg7QxED7Q/viewform?pli=1.
As the nation embarks on this transformative journey, the public’s input is invaluable. Readers are invited to share their thoughts and viewpoints on these impending changes in the comment section below, fostering a constructive discourse around the evolving smoking regulations.