Read articles from South Africa

New smoking laws for South Africa – a job-killer in plain packaging

The Portfolio Committee on Health has conducted more public hearings on the new Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Control Bill, with participants expressing mixed views. The new Bill has been met with both support and vehement opposition, depending on the clauses being focused on. Broadly, the bill aims to introduce the following:

  • Indoor public places and certain outdoor areas will be determined to be 100% smoke-free.
  • Ban the sale of cigarettes through vending machines.
  • Plain packaging with graphic health warnings and pictorials.
  • Ban on display at point-of-sale; and
  • The regulation and control of electronic nicotine delivery systems and non-nicotine delivery systems.

South Africa’s self-harming anti-vaping legislation

South Africa’s parliament is scrutinising new tobacco and nicotine legislation that would throttle harm reduction approaches for its citizens. South Africa has a high prevalence of smoking (25.8% – see chart), especially among men, and low rates of vape use (2.2%). Yet the legislation is designed to obstruct South African citizens from switching from high-risk cigarettes to low-risk vape products. Why is there such hostility to a strategy that could work especially well in South Africa? Harm reduction relies on consumers and producers acting in their own interests and at their own expense to radically reduce disease risks and improve their welfare and wellbeing. [...]

Exploring electronic cigarette portrayals: a content and thematic analysis of African online news coverage

Electronic cigarette use has surged internationally in recent years, with numerous countries noting an uptick in users. Despite this, the portrayal of e-cigarette usage in African news remains unclear. This research investigates the subject, employing a mixed-methodology approach. The study units were news articles on electronic cigarette use retrieved from AllAfrica, an online African news archive. [...]

Big fight brewing over ‘irrational’ smoking and vaping laws in South Africa

While all parties agree smoking and vaping should be regulated in South Africa, a significant industry player is contesting the Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Control Bill in its current form. Multinational tobacco company Philip Morris South Africa (PMSA) is pushing back strongly against the bill, saying that’s proposed laws lack nuance and scientific justification – to the extent that they are irrational.

Impact of the Conference of Parties (COP) on tobacco control in South Africa

The 10th Conference of the Parties (COP) convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) will be taking place in November 2023 to discuss the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The COP will discuss updates to the approach taken by member states in implementing the FCTC. “It is an appropriate time for leaders in South Africa and elsewhere to indicate the inappropriate stance of WHO and regulators in not supporting the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDs),” says award-winning pharmacological healthcare consultant, Professor Praneet Valodia. “The WHO has an obligation to support smokers and save lives.”

South Africa’s new vaping tax won’t deter young smokers

Throughout the world, governments impose excise taxes on products like alcohol and tobacco to reduce their demand. The South African government has implemented a tax on vaping products for the same reason. Reducing demand is necessary as there is growing evidence that vaping products are not harmless. The new vaping tax has enraged vaping lobby groups and vaping manufacturers. The vaping industry argues that e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes. It also claims that the tax will spawn an illicit industry, that people will go back to smoking traditional cigarettes, and the tax will not dissuade the youth from starting vaping.

Smokers cough up 50% to 80% more in life insurance premiums

The new Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Control Bill, which is intended to further regulate the smoking industry, is open for public comment – but how many smokers consider the financial impact of their habits?

First, there’s the actual expense in your grocery budget – a pack of 20 Peter Stuyvesant Red cigarettes cost R46. If you smoke a pack a day, that works out to R322 a week – R1,288 to R1,610 a month. According to Momentum Myriad in 2020, a smoker’s life insurance premium was as much as 80% more than that of a non-smoker.

Smokers cough up 50% to 80% more in life insurance premiums

While smokers have long been rated as higher risk when it comes to health and life insurance, people who vape are now also considered candidates with a higher risk.

Backlash against new tobacco bill gets white hot

Smokers feel they have had it rough these last few years, what with the outright tobacco ban for five months during Covid and tighter restrictions on where and how you can smoke.

Older smokers recall with fondness the days you could smoke on aircraft, in pubs and restaurants, and at the office. Those days are over, but the war on smokers continues, and a quarter of South Africans who smoke don’t like this one bit, as the comments on the Dear South Africa platform make clear.

In future, if the Department of Health (DoH) has its way, retailers will have to hide their cigarette displays from public eyes, cigarettes will come in plain packets, [...]

Misleading tobacco industry stealth advertising misrepresents Swedish e-cigarette model

There have recently been misleading calls for South Africa to adopt the Swedish model of regulating e-cigarettes, a model positioned by tobacco-industry supported organisations as making alternative products widely available, instead of regulating or restricting the sale and marketing of these products.

Articles and a full-page advert in the Sunday Times of 30 April 2023 link back to In fact, Sweden strictly regulates e-cigarettes and the country’s laudable progress in becoming smoke-free is attributable to a long history of strong tobacco control measures starting in 1975.