Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Public hearings on Tobacco regulations

By Tando Mfengwana
24 January 2007

Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health is holding public hearings aimed at the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill.

The legislation aims to protect the public from second hand smoke and to help smokers quit.

The health department’s presentation to the committee said that tobacco was a leading preventable cause of death worldwide.

Government Information services BuaNews reported that smoking kills 4.9 million people annually, especially in developing countries like South Africa.

The presentation said that 60 percent of submissions in Groote Schuur Hospital were from tobacco related illnesses.

The Amendment Bill sates that if anyone is found smoking in public space they could be fined R500, companies will have to fork out R50 000.

The National Council Against Smoking welcomed the move.

They have urged Parliament to extend the scope of the Bill to close loopholes in the current anti-smoking laws.

But the Tobacco Institute has warned that over-regulation could harm the industry, saying that 24 000 jobs are at risk.

The anti-smoking legislation has seen a big drop in the number of smokers.


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