Draconian measures for smokers
It’s not an easy life for a smoker – legislation is making it very difficult for smokers to indulge in their habit. With approximately 7.7 million adult smokers in South Africa, puffing away on some 27 billion cigarettes , the Supreme Court of Appeal has recently found that the health hazards of smoking outweigh the rights of smokers as a group.
The new anti-smoking laws will bring about a total ban on indoor smoking. Smoking in open places such as outdoor eateries, beer gardens, parks, stadiums etc will also become illegal. A smoker on the beach can only light up more than 50 metres from the closest person. It is believed that the decrease of exposure to sidestream smoke (believed to be toxic and harmful) will be beneficial to non-smokers.
Aggrieved smokers are up in arms, saying that this is an extreme and shameless intrusion and vicious assault into people’s rights, choices and lifestyles. They believe that they are being humiliatingly ostracized and segregated in social and business situations.
The anti-smoking lobbyists are going full tilt for prohibition, and are rejoicing in the tough new smoking laws. They believe that this is the next step in the right direction with regard to protecting South African citizens from the damaging and hazardous effects of tobacco. If the new changes come into effect, South Africa will become the first country in Africa to become smoke-free.
Proprietors are up for a fine of R100 000, if they are unable to get their patrons to smoke in designated areas. And if you, the smoker, are caught smoking in the wrong place, you will be R500 poorer. Could this lead to non-smokers staying at home? And could the spin-off effect be that many restaurants and pubs have to close their doors? In the UK, thousands of restaurants and pubs have closed since their smoking ban went into effect.
The Supreme Court of Appeal has upheld the blanket ban on tobacco advertising. British American Tobacco South Africa believe that this ban is unconstitutional. Justice Mthiyane believes that the government has a responsibility to ban tobacco advertising in order to protect its citizens from the ravages of tobacco. The National Council Against Smoking welcomes the decision.
- The numbers of cigarette smokers are down by 30% in comparision to 10 years ago;
- The Medical Research Council says that in 2000, 44 400 deaths in South Africa were tobacco-related.
We ask you, the following questions:
- Do you believe that the tax-paying smoker should be penalized in this way?
- Do you believe that it will be possible to enforce such a broad ban on smoking in open places?
- Would you “rat” on your neighbor?
- Do you think that this latest anti-smoking assault is a gross abuse of power and ill-considered?
- Are these new regulations unconstitutional?
- Are the smokers you know, currently considerate of their non-smoking friends and colleagues?
- Do you applaud these tough new smoking measures?
- What about alcohol – should that be banned as well?