Looks like the war is being won by the anti-smokers
Anti-smoking champions are applauding the proposed move by government to stamp out smoking in public spots
While smokers are in a huff about government putting the light out on puffing in public places, the anti-smoking champions are quietly applauding the proposed move.
As the world observes No Tobacco Day on Thursday, the National Council Against Smoking and The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa are particularly pleased that government is serious about stamping out smoking in public spots including common smoking areas, smoking sections of restaurants, in cars if there’s a child or more than one person inside and any place where children are being taught or cared for.
They’re also looking at taking the frills out of cigarette packs with the introduction of plain packaging, accompanied by graphic warnings about the harm.
The proposed legislation is also likely to hamper the use of electronic cigarettes.
The controversial Control of Tobacco and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill is expected to be gazetted for public comment in coming weeks and South Africans have three months to express their views on it.“As far as we are concerned, this is a great improvement on our legislation. 100% smoke-free policies in public places aim to reduce harm that being near cigarette and e-cigarette smoke causes to non-smokers.
“This is critical because we know that second-hand smoke also harms the heart and lungs and is a direct cause of death for thousands of people each years,” said Savera Kalideen, head of the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS).
Both NCAS and the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa are concerned about secondary smokers who are at risk of cardiovascular disease.
A study in the Western Cape found that over a third of women in a local township were exposed to passive smoking, putting them at a high risk of cardiovascular disease and other complications.
In the Drakenstein Child Health study, one in five babies surveyed in two townships had the same level of nicotine in their system as active smokers, said Kalideen.
According to the council twice as many women in the world die of exposure to second-hand smoke as men do – an estimated 600,000 women died from second-hand smoke related deaths in 2016, it reported.Kalideen said while more men smoke worldwide, many women get exposed to smoke from their partners within the household.
Professor Pamela Naidoo, head of the Heart and Stroke Foundation said despite a decline in the smoking rates since the introduction of anti-smoking legislation and taxation in South Africa, cardiovascular disease remained the second biggest killer in the country.
According to the council there are 44,000 smoking-related deaths each year.
“That is equivalent to 121 avoidable deaths each day,” said Kalideen.
But smoker Estelle van Niekerk is burning up over the proposed legislation.
“It’s utter nonsense. Who are you harming but yourself if you light up a cigarette alone?
“Government should be more concerned about the people who are drinking and then jumping in their cars and driving and those who are urinating in public,” said Van Niekerk.