The portfolio committee on Health will be holding public hearings on the Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Control Bill in the Eastern Cape over the coming weekend.
The Bill, which has remained unchanged from that introduced to Parliament in December 2022, will result in significant challenges for many hospitality establishments as a result of the following (amongst others):
- Smoking/vaping will no longer be permitted in designated indoor areas or certain enclosed outdoor areas. All existing designated indoor smoking areas, be they in accommodation establishments, restaurants, pubs, taverns, casino’s, conference centres or function facilities etc, will be required to close.
“enclosed” is defined as “any space covered by a roof or enclosed by one or more walls or sides, regardless of the type of material used for the roof, wall or sides, and regardless of whether the structure is temporary or permanent”
- The closure of smoking areas such as vape lounges; hookah lounges; cigar bars
- Accommodation establishments will no longer be permitted to designate smoking bedrooms
- No smoking/vaping will be permitted in any space that is within the prescribed distance of an operable window, ventilation inlet, entrance or exit of a place where smoking is prohibited. The prescribed distance is likely to be around 10 metres which in many cases may result in smokers standing in the street with significant safety implications.
- No smoking will be permitted in any motor vehicle when a non-smoker or a child is present. This will include guest transport
- Designated indoor smoking areas for employees will no longer be permitted
- Employees may decline to work in outdoor areas where smoking is permitted
- The onus is on the owner or person in control of a public place to ensure that no person smokes in an area where it is prohibited and management and employers will be responsible for policing the legislation
- Establishments will be required to display various prescribed signs (to be published in future Regulations)
- No point-of-sale advertising will be permitted and tobacco products on sale may not be visible to the public
- The Minister may further prohibit smoking in any prescribed outdoor public place or workplace, or such portion of an outdoor public place or workplace as may be prescribed, where smoking may pose a health, fire or other hazard.
Some of the penalties for non-compliance include:
- An owner or person in control of a public place who fails to ensure that a person does not smoke where it is prohibited, could be imprisoned for up to five years and or fined.
- The owner or person in charge of a public place can be fined and or imprisoned for up to six months if he/she does not display the necessary signs around smoking prohibitions in that public place.
- If an employer fails to protect their employees against smoke in the workplace, he or she can be imprisoned for up to ten years and or be fined.
The statute will, in addition to the restrictions set out above, result in significant costs for those hospitality establishments required to re-integrate existing indoor designated smoking areas and for those accommodation establishments who will need to revamp/sanitise existing smoking bedrooms.
Access the full document here: