A Bill is before parliament that has important implications for the health of children and adolescents in South Africa.
Its title is the
CONTROL OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS AND ELECTRONIC DELIVERY SYSTEMS BILL
At least a quarter of all children in South Africa are exposed to cigarette smoke in their homes, with much high rates than this is some communities. The health of children and adolescents can be severely undermined by tobacco and nicotine – from prenatal exposure right through childhood exposures to taking up the regular use of tobacco or nicotine products by older children and adolescents.
The detrimental effects of tobacco and nicotine are mediated in many ways:
- The financial outlays made by members of children’s families who smoke or vape – money that could be spent on constructive family activities and resources
- The tobacco- and nicotine-induced ill health and mortality that will affect at least half of all people who smoke, affecting the psychological and developmental wellbeing of their children and grandchildren
- Exposure to second hand smoke pre- and post-natally (environmental tobacco smoke)
- Exposure to third hand smoke (the persisting effects of cigarette smoke on the body of the person who smokes and the places where they have been smoking)
- Environmental degradation caused cigarette butts, cigarette packets and electronic waste from e-cigarettes.
The Bill contains many provisions that will significantly reduce the harms caused by nicotine and tobacco in South Africa, including further curbs
- on advertisements,
- on packaging, display and sale of products,
- such as more stringent regulations on where people may smoke, on e-cigarettes and similar products.
- that are designed specifically to protect children e.g. no smoking allowed in any vehicles in which anyone under 18 years of age is travelling
The Bill is open for public participation until 8th August 2018. The Department of Paediatrics at the University of Cape Town is developing a child-focussed input to this process, based on these considerations.
Click here [https://www.gov.za/document/latest] to access a copy of the draft Bill.
If you would like to be part of the development of this input, or would like to offer support to its final version, please contact Tony Westwood (Anthony.firstname.lastname@example.org) to be added to a mailing list.