Parliament, Sunday, 26 November 2023 – The residents of Greater West Rand District Municipality have called for different regulations governing electronic delivery systems as they are of the view that similar regulation to those of tobacco products are unhelpful and deprive smokers the less harmful alternative they could use to quit.

The residents shared this view with the Portfolio Committee on Health when it conducted the second of three public hearings on the Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Control Bill at the Westonoria Banquet Hall yesterday.

The Bill received varied views from the residents, with some supporting the objectives of the Bill on the basis that it strengthens the protection of non-smokers and the youth while others rejected it on the grounds that it might lead to increased unemployment.

Those in opposition also highlighted that, in its current form, the Bill doesn’t recognise smokers and does not put in place mechanisms to assist them to quit. They argued that international studies have shown that smokers that use vapes were most likely to quit smoking. Also, they argued that electronic delivery systems were less harmful than combustible cigarettes. A call was made to reconsider the Bill and separate regulations of electronic delivery systems from those of tobacco products.

Those who supported the Bill argued that due to increased marketing, additional flavours and attractive packaging, companies are creating a younger nicotine dependent cohort that will eventually move to smoking heavier substances. This, according to them, was a clear evidence that companies are more concerned about profits than the wellbeing of the people.

The committee also noted that job security was another crucial point of contestation during the hearings. Some participants expressed some personal anecdotes on how they are making living through the sale of tobacco products. Through those anecdotes they expressed their fear that the passing of the Bill will lead to the closure of the small-scale informal businesses. They argued that the debate on the Bill went further than the issue of cigarettes but is about the livelihoods of many families that are depended on small-scale businesses that sell tobacco products.

Meanwhile, the supporters of the Bill underlined that the fear of job losses was a misconception and that more investments in other more healthy industries will lead to the creation of more job opportunities. Some argued that the debate is about healthcare policy and that there are other departments that are better placed to consider how best to deal with the rising unemployment.

Those rejecting the Bill also said there are tangible gaps in enforcement mechanisms in the Bill. They also referred to the increased consumption of illicit tobacco products during the covid-19 induced lock down to advance their argument as an evidence to illustrate the inability in enforcement of legislation.

Supporters of the Bill emphasised their confidence the Bill that will protect non-smokers against the dangers imposed by second hand smoke inhalation.

The committee will today host the last Gauteng public hearings in Pretoria in the Gauteng Province. It invites all interested parties to come and share their views on the Bill.

The Bill seeks to strengthen public health protection measures, align South African tobacco control law with the World Health Organisation Framework Convention and repeal the Tobacco Control Act, 1993 (Act No. 83 of 1993). The proposed legislative and policy changes seek to introduce the following:

(a) indoor public places and certain outdoor areas that will be designated 100 per cent
(b) a ban on the sale of cigarettes through vending machines;
(c) plain packaging with graphic health warnings and pictorials;
(d) a ban on display at point-of-sale; and
(e) the regulation and control of electronic nicotine delivery systems and non-nicotine delivery systems.

The details of the public hearings in Pretoria are as follows:





Saturday, 25th November 2023

West Rand Region 

Westonoria Banquet Hall

10:00 – 15:00

Sunday,26th November 2023

Tshwane Region 

Tshwane House Council Chamber (Pretoria Central)

10:00 – 15:00


For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the committee’s Media Officer:

Name: Malatswa Molepo (Mr)
Parliamentary Communication Services
Tel: 021 403 8438
Cell: 081 512 7920