Hey, South African smokers, remember when we told you about the new draft law that could see you jailed up to three months for smoking in public a few weeks back?
Well, via a report by BusinessTech, the draft Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill (Cotped) plans to introduce a couple of changes since it was published for public comment on May 9.
A zero-tolerance policy on in-door smoking in public places, as well as the requirement that smokers must be at least 10 metres away from public entrances.
It also aims to address the changes that technology has brought on the industry. With particular reference to vapes, e-cigarettes and other kinds of electronic nicotine delivery systems.
I guess cigarettes and pipe-smokers aren’t the only ones who are going to be feeling the crunch.
Executive law consultant Mohsina Chenia explained that technological changes, the need to safeguard the health and well-being of the general public, and to bring South Africa in line with the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, are at “the heart of this bill”.
However, employers have been placed in an awkward position under the proposed bill, which could see them receiving fines or facing imprisonment if they’re deemed as falling short of their obligations.
That’s not good, especially if it’s a careless employee doing all the smoking.
So, what can employers do?
Chenia said that the bill explicitly makes reference to an enclosed workplace, which could be a corridor, lobby, stairwell, elevator, cafeteria, washroom, business or government-registered vehicle … basically, any closed area that’s used for work or commercial purposes.
So, if you’re the owner or person in control of a public place or workplace, it falls on you to designate the whole or part of any outdoor space as an area where smoking is prohibited, as well as to ensure that people don’t flout the no-smoking rule.
You also have to adhere to public announcements and signage prescribed by the bill.
But there are more T&Cs to be aware of.
Employers must also draw their attention to Section 2(6) of the bill, said Chenia, which include the following rules:
Yeah, employers, just a reminder that you can end up in the tronk if your employees don’t play by the rules. Hectic.
Chenia recommended that employees take this bill and its sanctions quite seriously by making the necessary changes to their businesses.
Guess it brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire”, huh?
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