30/04/2018 08:38 SAST | Updated 30/04/2018 08:38 SAST

Are You A Smoker? Then We Have Bad News For You

Government wants a total ban on smoking in outdoor public places.

Terroa via Getty Images

Tough new anti-smoking laws could see a total ban on smoking in outdoor public places, a ban on vending machines and the regulation of electronic cigarettes, Business Day reported. On Thursday, Cabinet reportedly said it had approved the Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill, in an effort to clamp down on smoking.

The Bill will reportedly be gazetted for public comment this week.

According to Business Insider, the proposed new laws would include a total ban on smoking indoors and the requirement that smokers must be at least 10 metres away from public entrances.

But government is expecting pushback from the industry. The department of health's tobacco unit's Lorato Mahura told Business Day that the motive of the tobacco industry was to protect profits, and so it was fully expected that the industry would "fight back".

Mohura reportedly said that e-cigarettes, while not as toxic as cigarettes, "are still toxic".

"They are marketed as alternatives to smoking-cessation products... Nicotine is still harmful over time," she reportedly said.

Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa chairman Francois van der Merwe reportedly told Business Day that government should focus on stamping out illicit cigarette trade.

"We support sensible legislation, but not extreme measures," he reportedly said.

Research by Penn State University in the United States now suggests that some flavours of e-cigarettes were more toxic than others, with around 43% of flavours tested associated with significantly higher levels of free radical production, according to a TimesLive report.

John Richie, professor of public health sciences and pharmacology, Penn State College of Medicine, reportedly said, "When these products first came on the market, many people were saying they were harmless and that it was just water vapour. We know that's not true, but we also don't have the numbers on how dangerous e-cigarettes are. But now we know that e-cigarettes do produce free radicals, and the amount is affected by the flavourants added."