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?
- It completely prohibits smoking indoors.
- It also prohibits smoking in:
- Stadiums, arenas, sports facilities, playgrounds and zoos
- Schools and child care facilities
- Health facilities
- Outdoor eating or drinking areas
- Places where outdoor events take place
- Covered walkways and covered parking areas
- Outdoor service areas and queues
- Beaches within 50 meters of a demarcated swimming area.
- It does not allow smoking within 5 to10 meters of entrances, doorways, windows and ventilation inlets.
- It allows demarcated smoking areas only outdoors under specific conditions.
- It places obligations on any person in control of a public place, and on employers to protect staff.
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% smoke free public places a reality (we are almost there).
Dr Yussuf Saloojee
National Council Against Smoking (NCAS)