New deadline for smoking and vape laws in South AfricaACTA
The Portfolio Committee on Health has announced that public consultation on the new Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Control Bill will end on 28 July.
In a media statement from Parliament, the government said that written submissions on the bill must be emailed to email@example.com or submitted online at https://forms.gle/FLrhnvThDk8ccLG97.
As reported on 22 June, the submission period was originally between 21 June 2023 and 4 August 2023.
The bill aims to regulate not only traditional tobacco smoking but also electronic cigarettes, such as vapes which have become immensely popular not only as a means to stop smoking normal cigarettes but as a gateway into nicotine consumption.
In broad terms, the bill aims to regulate the sale and advertising of both tobacco products and electronic delivery devices.
Parliament stated that: “the bill will also focus on legislating electronic nicotine and electronic non-nicotine delivery systems; introduce plain packaging with graphic health warnings and pictorials; introduce a total ban on display at the point of sale; introduce 100% smoke-free areas – indoor public places and certain outdoor areas; and a total ban on vending machines for tobacco products.
At the start of the month, the Portfolio on Health briefed Parliament on the new bill with mixed reactions. Many stakeholders were concerned as to the severe knock-on effects the new bill could have on the tobacco/smoking industry, which is a key driver of economic growth in South Africa.
Members of Parliament said that the bill could lead to more people turning to the already budding illicit tobacco industry and lead to job losses.
Speaking specifically regarding vape products, Asanda Gcoyi, the chief executive of the Vapour Products Association (VPASA), said that combustible alternatives to traditional cigarettes should form the backbone of tobacco harm reduction in South Africa and be seen more as a solution to a problem rather than a new problem.
She said that the government has managed to demonise vaping, marking it as more damaging than traditional cigarettes.
Vapes are not only getting regulated by the new bill but are also being drawn into the ambit of excise taxes, as provided in the updated Tobacco Product Excise.
Barry Buchman, the managing director of Vaperite, said that the newly imposed excise duty on vaping products has taken its toll on retailers, with many arguing that the tax has had the adverse effects of driving consumers towards the illicit market.
Buchman added that the tax is pushing consumers to purchase the highest and most addictive nicotine-content-e-liquid as it is a cheaper option, negating the original aim of the National Treasury to tackle health-related issues.
See the full notice from Parliament below: