South Africa - new anti-smoking laws have to be enforced..

November 4, 2009 - Two pieces of legislation that dramatically increase smoking fines and crack down on tobacco companies were signed into law, the South Africa's National Council Against Smoking stated on September 1, 2009. Map - South Africa..

These tough new anti-smoking laws have not filtered down to Cape Town's smokers, who are still puffing away in clubs and pubs. Amendments to the Tobacco Control Act came into effect on September 4, banning smoking in entertainment areas, including bars, clubs, restaurant patios and walkways, balconies and even in parkades.

The amendments also banned smoking in cars in which children younger than 12 are passengers and put a stop to the sale of products such as sweets and chocolates by cigarette vendors. 'Smokers are just being targeted...'

While some smokers and restaurant owners claim ignorance of the new laws, others admit that they are aware of the laws and the consequences if caught contravening them.

A snap survey by the Cape Argus showed that many establishments still allow people to puff in walkways and on patios and balconies, while others even allow patrons to smoke indoors.

Paul van Staden of Pretoria, who was smoking outside the Red Moon coffee shop in Long Street, said he was aware of the new legislation but had chosen to ignore it as it was "offensive" to smokers. "I'm aware of it, but it sucks. Smokers are just being targeted... The government should focus on bigger issues such as drug smuggling and prostitution instead of wasting resources targeting smokers," he said.

David Stewart, of the Bo-Kaap, echoed Van Staden's sentiments. 'I don't understand why smoking outdoors is such a crime' "I think smokers should be given more input when these laws are created," he added.

Irish tourist Laura Brennan, who was smoking outside the Dubliner at Kennedy's in Long Street, said she did not know about the amendments and none of the establishments had told her about the new rules. "In Ireland, no smoking is permitted indoors, but I think it's still fairly reasonable of the South African government to ban smoking at restaurants and pubs because passive smoking can be very irritating for non-smokers," she said.

A manager at the Red Moon said most businesses found the new legislation confusing. "I don't understand why smoking outdoors is such a crime. "In my coffee shop, customers smoke in a walkway that is open on three sides. No one is affected by passive smoke," he said, adding that he couldn't stop customers from smoking. "Most people who support my coffee shop are smokers... If I tell them not to smoke outdoors, that will mean the end of my business," he said.

A manager at the Purple Turtle bar, where smokers were smoking inside, said that although his establishment had made changes to comply with the law, businesses like his would battle to survive if they did not allow smoking.

City Health head Dr Ivan Bromfield said the city was monitoring compliance very closely.


More - Tobacco in South Africa..

Reference: New law 'offensive' to smokers by Sipokazi Maposa Health Writer,

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Click to enlarge image - the South African Coat-of-Arms..