New anti-smoking regulations may be imposed by the end of June.
By the end of June, Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi may succeed in implementing new anti-smoking regulations. The regulations will prevent anyone from smoking in any building, outdoor venue, public or private beach, outdoor drinking or eating area, park, walkway, parking area or within 10 metres of any doorway or window.
The Director of the National Council Against Smoking, Peter Ucko, says, “These new regulations are excellent. Besides needing a few tweeks, they are widely accepted and popular. The regulations are what people want. They are a good public health measure.”
The Free Market Foundation strongly opposed the regulations drafted by the Department of Health saying that they are a gross violation of people’s rights, as well as being unenforceable.
The Executive Director of the Free Market Foundation, Leon Louw, says that with these new regulations people will be less likely to go out for recreation and support local businesses as they will have to go 10 metres away from the building.
“We should therefore predict a drop in entertainment and food and beverage sales. For establishments like nightclubs, there are security concerns. Patrons standing outside will be forced to be long distances from security and will be easy targets for criminals,” says Louw.
Ucko, however, says that these regulations have been requested by the public for a long time.
“It makes no sense to have smokers gathered outside doors and windows of buildings where non-smokers have to walk through the toxic cloud of smoke,” he says.
An issue that Louw brings up is that many businesses spent a lot of money on building the delegated smoking areas. With these new regulations these areas will no longer be suitable. Louw suggests that if the issue is to prevent non-compliance of the previous regulations then the solution should be better policing.
The main problem that the Free Market Foundation has with these new regulations is that they see them as unenforceable. Louw says that if we enact laws with no reasonable way to enforce them, it promotes a society that disrespects law.
“We have the right to clean air, there is no right to smoke. Therefore these regulations will protect those who choose not to smoke,” says Ucko.
The deadline for public comment on this issue is 29 June 2012.