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In South Africa, a proposed new tobacco-products bill would extend the government’s regulatory reach to cover vaping, according to a story in The Business Day.
The Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Wednesday published what the newspaper described as ‘the long-awaited’ Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill. The Bill, which was passed by the Cabinet last month, is subject to a three-month public-comment period.
The Bill is said to pave the way for much stricter tobacco laws than previously applied and for bringing e-cigarettes into the regulatory fold.
In the preamble to the bill, the minister said strong action was required to deter people from using tobacco products, to protect non-smokers from exposure to tobacco smoke and to encourage existing users to quit.
Electronic delivery devices were to be regulated because they contained nicotine and the long-term effects of their use was unknown, he said.
Key proposals in the bill include a ban on vending machines, the introduction of standardized packaging and graphic health warnings, much tighter control on smoking in public places, and regulation of electronic delivery devices.
The Tobacco, Alcohol and Gambling Advisory Advocacy and Action Group’s executive director Peter Ucko said the bill was long overdue.
“This bill should have been published in 2010 or 2011,” he said. “Many people have died because it wasn’t.”
Ucko said the language of the bill needed to be tightened up to close loopholes that would enable the industry to undermine the government’s efforts.
But the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa’s chairman Francois van der Merwe said the bill went too far. It would render SA a “counterfeiter’s paradise” and increase the sale of illicit cigarettes.
“There is no urgency for this bill,” Van der Merwe said. “It is a cut-and-paste job from Geneva, instead of developing regulation that can work [in SA].”