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Submission to the Health Portfolio Committee on the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill from CANSA

Submission to the Health Portfolio Committee on the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill from CANSA

Submission to the Health Portfolio Committee on the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill from the Cancer Association of South Africa – Submitted 20 March 2008 and presented on 6 May 2008:

In South Africa, over 42 000 people* (* 2008 stats) die every year from smoking-related diseases including many forms of cancer. The tragedy is that these deaths could be prevented.

CANSA has always been dedicated to fighting cancer by educating the public to reduce cancer risk. Our mission is to substantially reduce the impact of cancer by promoting health in all communities within South Africa, through advocacy and the sustainable facilitation of research, early detection and care.

As tobacco use is the biggest preventable cause of death including cancer-related deaths, we are dedicated to fighting for a smoke-free South Africa with a number of prevention programmes while assisting South Africans to quit smoking or using tobacco products.

While we support the newly-passed legislation an applaud the South African government for their progressive anti-tobacco laws, it is necessary to have the second bill passed and be fully supported in order to further limit the advertising and promotion of these deadly products, especially to our young people.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) globally, most people start smoking before the age of 18, and almost a quarter of these individuals begin using tobacco before the age of 10. The younger children are when they first try smoking, the more likely they are to become regular tobacco users and the less likely they are to quit.

It is clearly proven that exposure to direct and indirect pro-tobacco advertising, together with other marketing strategies used by the tobacco industry, leads to an increase in experimentation by young people and, in turn, to the very real risk of their becoming regular users of tobacco products. The tobacco industry spends tens of millions of dollars worldwide every year to effectively market its products in as many ways as possible.

In response to this threat to young people, 2008’s World No Tobacco Day campaign focuses on the following main message:

One of the most effective ways countries can protect young people from experimenting and becoming regular tobacco users is to ban all forms of direct and indirect tobacco advertising, including promotion of tobacco products and sponsorship, by the tobacco industry, of any events or activities.

CANSA staff and volunteers have noticed the popularity in the use of smoking and alternative tobacco products such as hookah pipes, snus, snuff among young people. We have also noticed a huge increase in non-traditional methods of advertising including sales at universities, change pads in cigarette kiosks, branding on pamphlets and other display items.

CANSA is asking for the tobacco industry not be allowed to use ANY form of advertising or product placement, that no donations may be made except anonymously and that they may not use donations for publicity purposes.

CANSA is also asking for restrictions to be made in all media to not allow images of people smoking or using tobacco products. Currently many magazines, television shows and films have people smoking and show products.

CANSA also supports picture-based health warnings on the products as being more effective than text warnings.

CANSA FULLY supports the Bill’s aims:

  • Amend the Tobacco Products Control Act, 1993, so as to define certain expressions and to amend certain definitions
  • Provide anew for the advertising, sponsorship, promotion, distribution and information required in respect of the packaging and labelling of tobacco products
  • Make the standards that apply to manufacturers of tobacco products applicable to importers of tobacco products
  • Prohibit the sale of tobacco products to and by persons under the age of 18 years
  • Extend the provisions in respect of free distribution to tobacco products
  • Provide anew for tobacco sales by means of vending machines
  • Extend the Minister’s power to make regulations
  • Adjust the provisions in respect of offences and penalties

CANSA would also urge Government to push through this legislation and make 2010 tobacco-free.

China is making the Olympics smoke-free.

World Cup Korea 2002 was smoke-free.

Ban smoking in all stadia and fan parks and ensure no tobacco links to any 2010 activities.


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