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By Citizen Reporter


Time running out to comment on law that could put you in jail for smoking at home

Citizens still have until mid-August to comment on the country's proposed new Tobacco Control Bill.

The citizens of South Africa have until the middle of August to comment on the proposed new Tobacco Control Bill, Witbank News reports.

The proposed Tobacco Control Bill has caused uproar as it suggests jail time (of up to three months) for those who smoke in public conveyance, in cars containing others or any person under the age of 18, and even for those who smoke in their own homes if they employ a domestic worker, garden services, a tutor or an au-pair.

READ MORE: Free Market Foundation fumes over proposed public smoking ban

The proposed bill will also make it illegal for restaurants, pubs and clubs to have designated smoking areas inside.

Furthermore, smoking inside any building will be prohibited, as will smoking in certain outdoor spaces such as beaches and sport stadiums. The proposed bill will hold property owners responsible for anyone that smokes on their property.

Should you own property and fail to display sufficiently visible “no smoking” signs, you could be jailed for up to a year.

If the proposed bill is passed, smokers will essentially only be able to smoke in a designated area outside that is at least five metres away from doors and windows.

If this bill is successfully passed, the tobacco industry will face major changes.

The bill also proposes plain packaging for cigarettes, which has already been implemented in Australia.

The danger of plain packaging is that it opens the door even wider to illicit trade by making it easier for crooks to disguise illegal cigarettes as the real thing.

South Africa has already lost an estimated R27 billion in revenue since 2010 due to the illicit trade of cigarettes, and this loss could potentially increase by 30% after the proposed bill is passed, if the trend in Australia holds true.

This bill is radically different to previous legislation in that it classifies e-cigarettes and vaporisers as tobacco dispensing devices, which means they will be subject to the same new rules that will apply to cigarettes.

South Africans have can comment on the bill, either in favour or opposition, by submitting their comments on it via email to lynn.moeng@health.gov.za before August 10.

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