All buildings in South Africa are set to become 100% smokefree and smoking is to be prohibited in some outdoor areas, if draft regulations published on March 30 by the Minister of Health become law. This is great news for the health of nonsmokers and smokers alike.
The regulations follow years of calls from the public for smokefree public places, and relentless efforts by tobacco companies and some businesses to maintain indoor smoking. The right to breathe is now set to trump the right to pollute the air.
We applaud the leadership of Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Now it is our turn to act! We have to ensure that the regulations become law and are not weakened or delayed. The Government has invited public comment on the regulations by 29 June, 2012.
What do the draft regulations say?
Please take a moment to send a letter or e-mail of support for the draft regulations to:
The Director-General: Health,
Attention: Director Health Promotion,
Private Bag X828,
or mailto: WinklR@health.gov.za and bcc: firstname.lastname@example.org
Write to congratulate the Health Ministry on the new regulations. Let them know you are looking forward to working, shopping, eating al fresco, attending sports fixtures, taking children to playgrounds, or standing in a queue without being forced to breathe secondhand smoke.
Thank you for your support in (finally!) making 100% smokefree public places a reality (we are almost there).
Dr Yussuf Saloojee
National Council Against Smoking (NCAS)