South Africa aims to stub out tobacco branding

Cigarette

Health department director for health promotion Vimla Moodley said that they will be follow Australia in plain packaging plan. That means that there will be no branding on tobacco products sold in South Africa.

After the discussion of members of Parliament’s health portfolio committee about proposed new smoking rules, she said that the department was as well testing the use of “images” on cigarette packaging.

These images consist in representation of the “health effects” of smoking.

“Till now, the rules allowed text messages demonstrating health warning labels, for example ‘tobacco is harmful to your health’.

But on the basis of international guidelines they need to implement warning labels, which are images of health effects of smoking tobacco products, she added.

Now the health department is analyzing pictures together with the health messages in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

The full report would be presented by December this year.

Moodley noted that Australia has already introduced regulations urging cigarette makers to use plain, non-branded packaging.

Moodley said that if there is support for introduction of the plain packaging rule, they will follow Australia.

Cigarette makers, especially British American Tobacco, Philip Morris and Imperial Tobacco, strongly opposed Australia’s plain-packaging laws. However, the companies got a set-back on August when the country’s highest court approved the new rules, which are established to become operational on December 1 this year.

Moodley added that the new South African rules, which are still under review, could be implemented by as early as next year.

The suggested rules as well will mean the ban on smoking in public places and “certain outdoor places”.

Moodley told the committee that present rules permit 25% of the floor space in a restaurant or an indoor facility to be used as a smoking area.

These new rules will mean that indoor public places should be 100% smoke free. Those spaces will no longer have an area for indoor public tobacco use.

Other places that are considered by the department to be 100% smoke free included “entrances to public spaces, outdoor eating and drinking areas, health facilities, schools, child-care facilities, covered walkways and in stadiums”, she said.

In accordance with the latest data, so-called “smoking prevalence” in South Africa is decreasing, though nearly 44,400 deaths in the country each year are “related directly to smoking”.

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