South Africa conducts vigorous public consultation on the Tobacco Products and Electronic Cigarettes Bill

South Africa’s health department has announced that the public consultation on the new Tobacco Products and Electronic Cigarettes Bill will end on July 28, Businesstech News reports.

The social public consultation initially set a submission period of June 21 to August 4, 2023. The bill aims to regulate traditional cigarettes as well as e-cigarettes, among others, which are becoming increasingly popular as a means of smoking cessation and as a consumer-grade nicotine product.

The Ministry of Health elaborated on the contents of the bill:

The bill will focus on legislation related to nicotine and non-nicotine e-cigarettes
The introduction of graphic health warning labels with simple packaging;
A ban on the display of e-cigarettes at the point of sale; the creation of 100 percent smoke-free public areas
A total ban on the sale of e-cigarettes in vending machines.

The bill was introduced in Parliament earlier this month by the South African Department of Health, with many stakeholders expressing concern about the potential ripple effects of the bill, as the tobacco industry is a key engine of economic growth in South Africa at this stage.

Parliamentarians said the bill could lead to more people turning to the illegal tobacco black market, resulting in job losses for those involved.

Asanda Gcoyi, CEO of the Electronic Products Association of South Africa (VPASA), said e-cigarette products should be a solution to reduce the harm of traditional cigarettes, and not a new problem.

She said the South African government is now trying to “demonize” e-cigarettes as a more destructive product than traditional cigarettes. The bill not only regulates e-cigarettes, but also includes them in the taxation of tobacco products.

Barry Buchman, managing director of e-cigarette company Vaperite, said the excise tax on e-cigarette products has had a negative impact on retailers, with many believing it will lead consumers to turn to the black market.

Buchman added that the tax policy pushes consumers to buy e-cigarette oils that contain the highest nicotine and are the most addictive. Because it is the more favorable choice, which has been contrary to the original intent of the government.