“Draft Tobacco Bill has the potential to initiate change”

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Cape Town – The City of Cape Town has voiced its support for the Draft Tobacco Bill which is currently out for public comment.

In a media statement, the City claimed the Bill had the potential to improve the City’s enforcement efforts, and also reduce the health burden caused by smoking, as highlighted by World No Tobacco Day.

“The fact that the bill proposes fewer opportunities to smoke in public means that the City’s agencies will have a far easier time in terms of enforcement,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

“Currently, one of our biggest headaches is non-compliance at social establishments, particularly nightclubs and establishments not abiding by the provisions of the legislation.”

Smith added that it will reduce the potential harm caused by second-hand smoke.

“Respiratory diseases are a major challenge in Cape Town, in part because we continue to have such high rates of smoking. One such example is pneumonia, with 1 in 5 child deaths attributed to the disease. Then there is the impact on smokers themselves, which also places a tremendous burden on our health system, but also communities and the economy at large,” Smith said.

According to the City, since July 2017, City environmental health practitioners have conducted 17 801 inspections at formal food premises, with a recorded compliance rate of 99%. A total of 37 smoking-related complaints were received and 24 fines were issued during the same period.

Some of the proposals in the Bill include curbs on smoking in public places, the effective shutdown of indoor smoking areas, regulations for electronic devices, and a prohibition on smoking in cars transporting children younger than 18.

“Many tobacco-related deaths, whether from cardiovascular disease or second-hand smoke, can be avoided,” Smith said.

“Despite ongoing taxation and fairly stringent legislation, we have not seen a tremendous downturn in smoking rates in Cape Town. That said, the Draft Tobacco Bill has the potential to initiate change that will force people to, at the very least, smoke less.”

The theme for World No Tobacco Day this year is “Tobacco and heart disease”. The campaign will look at the link between tobacco and the heart as well as other cardiovascular diseases like strokes which, combined, are the world’s leading causes of death, according to the World Health Organisation.

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