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World No Tobacco day

South African Medical Research Council provides research support for the new tobacco bill

World No Tobacco DayCape Town, South Africa | The Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill of 2022 was presented in parliament on 31 May 2023 by the National Department of Health before the Portfolio Committee on Health. Yesterday also marked World No Tobacco Day with this year’s theme being “We need food, not tobacco”. The bill which was presented for public comment in May 2018 has gone through various stages in the legislative process of becoming a law since it was first published for public comment in 2018.

The South African Medical Research Council is working with other health and advocacy organizations under the umbrella of the Protect Our Next (PON) Campaign to provide research evidence in support of this bill. Organizations working in the PON campaign include the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS), Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa (HSFSA), South Africa Tobacco Free Youth Forum (SATFYF), and the Africa Tobacco Industry Monitoring and Policy Research center (ATIM) at the University of Pretoria.

Dr Catherine Egbe, Specialist Scientist in the Mental Health, Alcohol, Substance Use and Tobacco Research Unit and her team are representing SAMRC on the PON campaign. Dr Egbe who is also the Principal Investigator of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey- South Africa (GATS-SA) was present at parliament during the presentation of the bill at parliament.

World No Tobacco Day

(L-R) Ms Tamaryn (Brown of Cart Agency), Dr Sharon Nyantanza (National Council Against Smoking), Prof. Ayo-Yusuf of ATIM (University of Pretoria) and Dr Catherine Egbe (SAMRC)

The five key provisions the tobacco bill seeks to do include: institute a 100% smoke-free indoor and certain outdoor places; ban the sale of cigarettes through vending machines, ban the display of tobacco and electronic delivery systems at the point of sale, regulate and control electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems (e-cigarettes) and change the current textual warnings on tobacco products packages to plain packages with graphic health warnings.

SAMRC, on behalf of the National Department of Health, implemented the first Global Adult Tobacco Survey conducted in South Africa in 2021 which showed that 29.4% of the South African population aged 15+years use one or more forms of tobacco product. However, about two-thirds of those smoking indicated their willingness or plan to quit. Also, almost 90% of the participants in the national survey reported their support for a ban on smoking in public places.

The Chair of the parliamentary portfolio committee on health informed members of the house and everyone present that the bill would be advertised for one month before the commencement of public hearings in the coming months.

Several studies conducted by SAMRC in conjunction with other research partners have highlighted the need for the strengthening of tobacco control legislation in South Africa in order to bring all new and related products like e-cigarettes within the regulatory framework of the country. The tobacco bill when passed into law would ensure the lives of the population are adequately protected.


Read the Global Youth Tobacco survey Fact sheet | Here

For more enquiries:

  1. Dr Catherine Egbe
    Specialist Scientist
  2. Ms Yolanda Phakela
    Public Relations Manager
    Mobile: 073 801 3691
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Tobacco bill
Catherine Egbe
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South Africa

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