New anti-smoking bill: Pundits debate the pros and cons

According to a new anti-smoking bill, restaurants will no longer be able to reserve space for smokers, people will not be allowed to smoke in cars transporting children and vaping is considered a health hazard.

Read: New Tobacco Bill poses potential safety risk for female smokers

To discuss this bill, Bongani Bingwa speaks to Africa Harm Reduction Alliance co-founder Dr Kgosi Letlape and Department of Health's health promotion chief director Lynne Moeng.

There has to be a measure of knowing what our Constitution says, and people have rights. Just like we see the change on the dagga scene, where it is becoming legal despite the known harmful effects, people are now looking at what are the benefits for those using it.

Dr Kgosi Letlape, Co-founder - Africa Harm Reduction Alliance

Letlape says there are a number of measures being implemented that he supports.

But we need to be careful not to get to a point where there are still people that are not quitting and the safer alternatives offered, that is the point that we are raising.

Dr Kgosi Letlape, Co-founder - Africa Harm Reduction Alliance

The measures have had a positive impact on public health, he adds.

The rate of smoking has gone down, and many places are pleasant for all of us to use. And we need to look at the evidence and signs to alternatives of tobacco.

Dr Kgosi Letlape, Co-founder - Africa Harm Reduction Alliance

He says he is not against tobacco control but feels vaping is not a healthy alternative.

People need to understand that it is not just about vaping. The most significant danger with tobacco is combusting it.

Dr Kgosi Letlape, Co-founder - Africa Harm Reduction Alliance

Moeng disagrees and says we cannot wait until we have non-combustible products spreading in the market and ending up used by children.

When they are left unmanaged and uncontrolled, they don't only end up with parents smoking them, but a lot of young people using them.

Lynne Moeng, Chief director - Department of Health's health promotion

The way these vaping products are currently marketed, we are not able to control that marketing. We are talking about 100% smoke-free public places like restaurants.

Lynne Moeng, Chief director - Department of Health's health promotion

The danger is not only on smokers, but secondary smoking that people who work in those restaurants inhale is just as harmful.

Lynne Moeng, Chief director - Department of Health's health promotion

Listen below to the full interview:


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