Home News Selling cigarettes to a minor could result in 15 years’ jail time

Selling cigarettes to a minor could result in 15 years’ jail time

Selling cigarettes to a minor could result in 15 years’ jail time

Durban — Businesses or any person who sells cigarettes to a minor could spend up to 15 years in prison or be fined, according to the new Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Control Bill before Parliament.

Transgressors will include companies that distribute confectionery, toys or items that resemble or promote the related reduced-risk products.

The country is forging ahead with proposed legislation that introduces strict new anti-smoking rules and regulates e-cigarettes. Moreover, the bill proposes the legislation of electronic nicotine and non-nicotine cigarettes for the first time and the introduction of 100% smoke-free areas, including in some public areas, workplaces or vehicles.

It also seeks to change how cigarettes are packaged and recommend the use of graphic warnings and a total ban on the display points of sale and vending machines for tobacco products.

The Health Department’s Dr Tshimi Lynn Moeng-Mahlangu recently said the draft bill seeks to repeal the act of 1993. She said the new bill aims to promote public health and align with the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) treaty.

“When amendments were introduced in the old act, we realised that the amendments were more than 50%, which means that it would be more like a new act altogether. So, we were legally advised that we need to come up with a completely new bill so that we can then repeal the current act,” she said.

Moeng-Mahlangu said the current act also does not allow the regulation of e-cigarettes and vaping products.

“The other challenge is that there is easy access at the moment to all these new products, increasing exposure to children and everyone,” she said.

She said she believed that if the country maintains the status quo, e-cigarettes will continue to flood the market and the government won’t be able to regulate these products.

She further quoted WHO’s report saying that it was found that e-cigarettes are harmful and contain toxic substances including nicotine, which is highly addictive. She said the findings indicated that e-cigarettes can lead to heart attack and stroke and can harm brain development in adolescents.

“The long-term health effects of these products remain unclear, but if we're going to wait as a country until we see the long-term effects, it might be too late for us to stop and many young people will be addicted to the product already,” she said.

She said tobacco-related illnesses cost the country about R42 billion whereas the industry contributes between R12bn and R15bn to the fiscus.

Daily News

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