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Health minister declares war on smoking, tobacco

Aaron Motsoaledi is looking at a raft of new regulations to make it tougher for smokers to buy cigarettes.

FILE: These changes would require amending existing legislation. Picture: sxc.hu.

CAPE TOWN - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has declared war on tobacco.

The minister is looking at a raft of new regulations that will make it tougher for smokers to buy cigarettes and smoke in public spaces.

His department has also announced its intention to follow Australia, Britain and France in introducing plain-packaged tobacco products, which restricts the use of logos, colours and brand images.

These changes would require amending existing legislation.

LISTEN: Six ways health minister wants to stamp out smoking

Motsoaledi says South Africa is lagging behind, while other nations tighten tobacco regulations.

"For instance, the issue of plain packaging."

The World Health Organisation say the roll-out of standardised packaging can save lives by reducing demand for tobacco products.

Motsoaledi wants to squeeze out smokers from public spaces.

"There was a compromise by government, we left 25 percent space for smokers [in public areas], and now we are in the process of abolishing it, in other words there should be no 25 percent."

And make it more difficult to buy cigarettes.

"It is still advertised subtly in outlets. It must be in an enclosed place where nobody can see it."

Tightening regulations around e-cigarettes is also on his radar.

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