Clearing the Air: CANSA Supports Smoke-Free Legislation
20 July 2023 – CANSA fully supports the Ministry of Health’s proposed Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Control Bill that may require all enclosed and some outdoor public areas to be 100% smoke-free. The public, smokers and non-smokers alike, must know what the Bill means and how it aims to protect their health.
“Tobacco use is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced,” says Lorraine Govender, National Manager: Health Promotion at CANSA. “As reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018, 650 million – or almost half of the world’s children – breathe ‘air polluted by second-hand’ smoke. Another report, issued by the National Council Against Smoking, indicates that 25 704 die from tobacco-related diseases in South Africans and over 8 million people worldwide each year including 1,2 million non-smokers who die from second hand smoke.”
According to CANSA, medical research over the past two decades indicates that non-smokers, when breathing second-hand smoke, may suffer the same diseases as active smokers. Second-hand smoke contains over 4 000 chemicals and has twice as much tar and nicotine as smoke inhaled from a cigarette.
Govender explains medical research indicates nicotine may cause tumour growth and transmutation of cancerous cells. “That is why CANSA supports smoke-free environments. Active and passive smoking causes various cancers while affecting fertility, bone, oral, eye, lung, and heart health. Research often links conditions like arthritis, type-2 diabetes, inflammation and decreased immune function with exposure to smoke from tobacco products.”
Strict tobacco control is not only good news for our health but also for the economy. South Africa loses R42 billion each year from treating tobacco-related illnesses combined with the loss of productivity caused by early deaths.
Imagine an outdoor music festival or a summer holiday on the beach. Thousands of people gathered, many of them breathing second-hand smoke. Visualise a family picnic at your local botanical garden. Children run and play on lush, green grass while being exposed to second-hand smoke from other visitors. Then picture your loved one in the hospital, connected to a ventilator because their lungs collapsed. Or recovering from amputating their feet caused by advanced diabetes. Or worse, standing at the grave of your loved one because the healthcare system could not provide them with treatment fast enough. The proposed Bill hopes to create healthier, happier South Africans.
“CANSA not only supports the proposed Bill but also those people affected by smoking,” concludes Govender. “If you or your loved one needs help to quit smoking, go to the CANSA online eKickbutt support programme giving helpful tools to quit and for more smoking- and cancer-related health facts and information.”
Currently, the Bill is in parliament and open for public comments until 4 September 2023. Show your support by helping to get the new proposed South African Tobacco Bill (2018) passed by filling out the online form . (View guidelines re Submissions.)
The Bill further will regulate electronic cigarettes which are currently unregulated in South Africa. It also introduces uniform plain packaging for all brands and pictorial warnings on all packages. Advertising tobacco products, heated tobacco, and electronic cigarettes at point of sales and the sale of cigarettes through vending machines will be stopped.
- World Health Organisation. Tobacco. Accessed 19 July 2023, Tobacco (who.int)
- Tobacco Control Data Initiative. Accessed 19 July 2023, Health Burden – South Africa (tobaccocontroldata.org)
CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public. Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We offer a Tele Counselling service in seven languages free of charge. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 8 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.
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