Motsoaledi calls for zero tolerance on smoking in public

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is particularly concerned that smoking occurs at hospitals.

Picture: sxc.hu.

CAPE TOWN - The National Health Department is taking a stern approach on smoking regulations across the country.

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is calling for zero tolerance for smoking in public.

The Health Minister says amendments to tobacco legislation are in the pipeline and adds that he’s signed the document and is waiting for Cabinet to approve it.

The proposal includes no smoking in public spaces, increasing the distance of no-smoking perimeters around buildings, banning advertising inside shops and preventing vending machines from selling cigarettes.

Motsoaledi is particularly concerned that smoking occurs at hospitals.

“It doesn’t make sense at all for there to be smoking within a hospital. The patients have complained bitterly to us, especially Steve Biko [Hospital] because that’s where I get my treatment, they say they can’t even step outside because – even where ambulances park when they arrive – smokers stop there and smoke.”

In 2005, the Tabacco Control Act was passed, which allows people to use 25% of public space.

According to the World Health Organisation, cigarette smoking in adults causes heart disease and stroke.

Studies have shown that early signs of these diseases can be found in adolescents who smoke.