The new Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill, was first announced in May 2020 by Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla, and has been going through a review process.
Health department spokesperson, Lynn Moeng, has recently been quoted by EWN as saying that the government is working as ‘fast as it can’ to have the bill processed. “We are now finalising the process and once we have done that before it even gets to Cabinet, it needs to be approved by a few technical committees,” she said. “We are in the process where we’ll now be able to submit to the various committees.”
SA’s Govt. has ignored comments received during the public consultation
The bill was first approved by president Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet in 2018. Meanwhile, the South Africa Tobacco Transformation Alliance (SATTA) has recently pointed out that more than 21,000 comments had been received when the Tobacco Bill was first published for public comment, and yet the latest version of the bill remained unchanged.
“Is the department honestly saying that none of the 21,000 comments made in 2018 were of significance or meaning?” said SATTA chairman Ntando Shadrack Sibisi. “Or did the department not deem those comments to have merit? If so, why bother with this consultation process? It feels like a mere box-ticking exercise, and we believe that makes this process a sham.”
The vape industry is in favour of sensible regulations
On the otherhand, the Vapour Products Association of South Africa’s (VPASA) has emphasized that contrary to what is generally assumed, the industry welcomes the introduction of sensible e-cig regulations. “VPASA’s second successful diginar in its Vaping Conversations series ended in consensus – that governments, including South Africa’s, should regulate vaping – and that these laws should be grounded in a risk-based approach which ensures users are both educated and informed. All decisions must be based on the latest available scientific data.”