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Support New Regulations to Reduce Visibility of Tobacco Products in Shops

Let’s make in-store tobacco marketing history! The picture to the right will be familiar. Tobacco being advertised and displayed right next to sweets, chocolates and ice cream. An addictive poison being sold as if it was popcorn.

The hardened smoker may not pay much attention to such advertising, but youngsters do.  It is they – and those who have recently quit – who are tempted by tobacco marketing in shops. Marketing experts say that in-store displays can:

  • attract attention
  • arouse interest
  • create desire
  • build confidence
  • prompt purchase

In other words, eye-catching retail displays increase sales. The opposite is also true – out of sight out of mind.

Support New Draft Regulation:

The Minister of Health is proposing restricting the display of tobacco products in shops. The aim is to allow businesses to show what tobacco products they sell, but not allow them to use such displays as advertising by, for instance stacking packs to make colourful ‘power walls’, and not placing packs near children’s products.

Draft regulations controlling the display of tobacco products in shops have been Gazetted and the Minister is inviting the public to comment on the Regulations by 23 November 2012.

If this sounds familiar it is. Similar draft regulations were published in October last year, but those regulations were seriously flawed. They would have changed little, which is why the industry was generally supportive of them. Following submissions from many of you, the Minister has revised the regulations in-line with your comments, but also those of the retail industry. The new regulations are in many ways better than the old, but still insufficient to completely protect youth from the industry.

The best thing would be to ban the display of tobacco products in shops completely. Several countries including Iceland, Canada, Ireland, Norway, England, Wales, Thailand and some Australian states, have already done so. Regrettably, South Africa has stopped short of a complete display ban.

The National Council Against Smoking is nonetheless urging you to please support the “Regulations Relating to the Display of Tobacco Products at Wholesale and Retail”

It’s Up to You – Take Action:

Please write to let the Health Ministry know you support the display regulations and also voice your support for policies that will help youngsters grow up free from addiction. You might also mention that you support a total ban on the display of tobacco products at wholesalers and retailers.

Key Elements of Draft Regulations:

  • Tobacco products may only be displayed in a single sales unit (e.g. a cabinet or shelf) which is not accessible to the public. No displays on the counter.
  • The size of the sales unit must not exceed 1 sq m for a retailer and wholesaler or in the case of a specialist tobacconist premises 4 sq m.
  • Only one package of each brand of a tobacco product may be displayed.
  • A maximum of one hundred tobacco products only may be displayed. A business may display any combination of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, snuff, hookahs as long the total number of products does not exceed one hundred.
  • Tobacco products may not be displayed within one metre of products marketed to children or of confectionary.
  • A sign saying “Smoking can kill you” and “We cannot by law sell tobacco products to anyone under 18 years” must be displayed. The size of the lettering used in the sign is specified.
  • The display cannot be made to stand out through the use of mirrors, holograms, or contain

Read the complete regulations at here…

Feedback re Draft Regulations to Make Indoor Public Places Smoke-free:

Thank you also to all who wrote in support of the draft regulations to make indoor public places smoke-free.  We are told that there was overwhelming support for the new regulations. This is fantastic. The Department of Health is currently finalizing the regulations.  We are a step nearer to clearing the air of tobacco smoke.

Thanks for your support!

Dr Yussuf Saloojee
Executive Director National Council Against Smoking


  • I have quit smoking but want something to take a little of the edge off. I’ve looked into several different types of e-cigs and ready several articles. Most state that there is nicotine AND carcinogens in the e-cigs and that they aren’t any better for you than regular cigarettes. Are there any out there that have very low levels of nicotine and NONE of teh carcinogens? Thanks!

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