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State urged to tighten tobacco laws as smoking rates increase

Government plans to tighten tobacco control need to be revived urgently, say public health experts, warning a new survey has revealed that more than 29% of South Africans either smoke or use smokeless tobacco products, and that one in four 15-year-olds is a smoker.

In 2018, a draft Bill with measures to regulate e-cigarettes and other new-generation products was published for comment, but the updated version has yet to be submitted to Parliament or approved by the Cabinet.

BusinessLIVE reports that preliminary results from SA’s 2021 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (Gats) show 41.7% of men and 17.9% of women use tobacco products, and that 18% of adults were exposed to tobacco smoke inside their own homes.

Catherine Egbe, the study’s principal investigator and a senior scientist at the Medical Research Council Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drug Research Unit, said smoking was higher among both men (41.2%) and women (11.5%) than in the 2016 Demographic and Health Survey (37% for men and 8% for women).

“The data show SA still has a lot of work to do. The more the Bill is delayed, the more young people are lured into smoking,” Egbe said.

The draft Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill was released for comment in 2018, but a revised version incorporating public input has yet to be sent to Parliament. Department of health officials said the Bill only required final sign-off from Health Minister Joe Phaahla before being submitted to the Cabinet. Once the Cabinet is satisfied with it, it will be sent to Parliament.


BusinessLIVE Pressreader article – State urged to tighten tobacco laws (Open access)


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