The Portfolio Committee on Health welcomed a briefing yesterday on the Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Control Bill from the Department of Health, but had mixed reactions to the contents of the Bill. The department was led in the meeting by the Deputy Minister, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo.
The aim of the bill is to regulate the sale and advertising of tobacco products and electronic delivery systems. It also aims to regulate the packaging and appearance of tobacco products and electronic delivery systems, and to make provision for the standardisation of their packaging; and to provide for the regulation of standards in respect to the manufacturing and export of tobacco products and electronic delivery systems.
New policy changes in the bill will also focus on legislating electronic nicotine and electronic non-nicotine delivery systems; introduce plain packaging with graphic health warnings and pictorials; introduce a total ban on display at point of sale; introduce 100% smoke-free areas – indoor public places and certain outdoor areas; and a total ban on vending machines for tobacco products.
The committee heard that the most concerning problem is the impact the bill will have on the sale of illicit tobacco and the loss of jobs.
The Chairperson of the committee, Dr Kenneth Jacobs, said the bill is important for the health of all South Africans. The committee agreed that going forward the parliamentary processes of public participation must take place. The committee will call for submissions. Thereafter, public hearings will be conducted for people to make their contributions to the bill.
Source: Parliament of South Africa