The City of Cape Town has announced several changes as part of an initiative to phase out smoking and tobacco sales. This will include new smoke-free spaces across the city which will create healthier environments and protect the planet, it said in a presentation on Tuesday (31 May).
“The City of Cape Town has launched its new smoking in the workplace framework ‘SmokeFreeCT’ by amending its internal smoking policy to ensure fewer places to smoke or purchase cigarettes within city-owned buildings.
“In addition, city health will continue enforcement of tobacco legislation, raise awareness through anti-smoking health promotion campaigns and assist staff and residents who are thinking of quitting by providing guidance on smoking cessation,” it said.
Data provided by the city shows it costs South Africa more than R2.3 billion to clean up discarded tobacco products every year. The South Africa Demographic and Health Survey in 2016 found that 26% of women and 43% of men in the Western Cape smoke daily.
“We have made some progress in getting the public to understand the risks associated with smoking, but many more are struggling to give up cigarettes as evidenced by the exorbitant prices they were willing to pay for cigarettes during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. Quitting tobacco immediately improves your health. After just two weeks your circulation and lung function could start to increase.
“As we mark World No Tobacco Day, I appeal to our residents who are struggling to kick the habit to reach out to their healthcare service provider for advice. Quitting will benefit your health, but also the health and well-being of your loved ones, and have a positive impact on the environment,” said the city’s mayoral committee member for community services and health Patricia Van der Ross.
The Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill is expected to regulate the use, marketing, and sales of e-cigarettes or vapes in South Africa. These products are currently operating in a legislative vacuum.
Approved by president Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet in 2018, the bill aims to comprehensively prohibit smoking in public places.
- Any enclosed spaces where children are present;
- Private dwellings used for certain commercial activities; and
- Some outdoor public spaces.
Plans are also in place to introduce restrictions on the smoking of cigarettes in public places. Current smoking laws ban smoking in public places but allow for designated smoking areas in bars, taverns and restaurants provided that they do not take up more than 25% of the venue. Lawmakers want to change this to a 100% prohibition of smoking in public areas.