Johannesburg - The draft regulations on smoking in public
places and certain outdoor public places are too restrictive, the Tobacco
Institute of Southern Africa (Tisa) said on Monday.
"Although the tobacco sector supports the regulation of
smoking in public places... (it) is excessively restrictive," Tisa CEO
Francois van der Merwe said in a statement.
Tisa had submitted comments to the department of health
highlighting certain concerns.
When the Tobacco Products Control Act 1993 was
passed into law it made provision for the minister to prescribe regulations for
designated indoor smoking areas, he said. Now the draft regulations prohibited smoking
"This, we believe, is not in line with the spirit and
purpose of the act," said Van der Merwe.
He said banning indoor smoking areas would effectively make
it illegal to have vending machines selling tobacco products. In terms of the
act, vending machines were allowed to be placed only in designated indoor
Van der Merwe said Tisa also felt that Health Minister Dr
Aaron Motsoaledi had acted beyond the powers given to him in the act.
"We could not find any provision in the act empowering
the minister to prescribe that people cannot be served food, beverage(s), or be
entertained or that 'smokers are to be discouraged from remaining in the area
longer than is necessary to smoke a cigarette'," he said.
"We also believe that there are certain clauses in the
draft regulations that are vague and uncertain."
One of these was the draft regulation prohibiting smoking on
beaches "not less than 50 metres away from the closest person near the
demarcated swimming area".
Van der Merwe said public smoking laws needed to be
practical and enforceable, and fair to both smokers and non-smokers.
"We believe that the existing regulations on smoking in
public places... work well and provide for both smokers and non-smokers.
"We believe that additional enforcement and not
additional regulations will be more effective."