Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill [B117D-98]: discussion

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Health

20 October 1998
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Meeting report

HEALTH PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
21 October 1998
TOBACCO PRODUCTS CONTROL AMENDMENT BILL [B117D-98]: DISCUSSION

Documents handed out
Memoranda from the various political parties (See appendix)

An official from the Health Dept read through the agreed amendments and members were free to interject or question as the item came up.

Dr K Gouws (NP) wanted more information and research findings to be given before a decision be taken on the legislation. He asked that the Department of Health submit a memorandum containing the scientification and research data before the vote is taken. He wanted to know what effect the ban on advertising will have on the economy. He claimed that the weighty evidence submitted to the committee was more in favour of the ban and he wanted to know what are the other arguments.

Ms P de Lille (PAC) was more concerned that the constitutional rights of citizens were being violated in the Preamble of the Bill. The Health Department needed to balance the rights of all people. She wanted to know whether the Department had taken legal advice on the constitutional implications of the Bill.

Ms A Tambo (ANC) said the opposition was only trying to derail the passage of the Bill with their sort of questions. She urged the committee not to allow the passage of the Bill to be held up by such interjections.

Mr M Ellis (DP) said the Bill should be put on hold until its proper legality and constitutionality have been fully tested. It is clear that this Bill will be challenged in Court and its loopholes should be tidied up before it is taken further. This could mean the anti-tobacco legislation being held up for years in the Courts.

Dr. S Rabinowitz (IFP) queried whether all the research on passive smoking symptoms were correct. She claimed that not all the research is necessarily reliable. She wanted a greater extension of designated smoking places in public to be included.

She also queried whether the Minister of Culture, Arts and Science had been properly consulted on the ban of advertising.

Ms de Lille continued her challenge on whether the amendments had been certified by lawyers. The law adviser present said this was so. But Ms de Lille believed that the hammering the Bill had received over the days made it most likely that it would go to Court. Section 4 and 9 were where the greatest were.

Appendix

21 October 1998

DEMOCRATIC PARTY AMENDMENTS TO THE TOBACCO PRODUCTS CONTROL AMENDMENT BILL

1 Withdraw the Bill until its constitutionality has been tested especially with respect to the freedom of expression.

2 Section 4. Withdraw completely until such time as its constitutionality has been tested.

Or failing this - the amendment as proposed by the Tobacco Institute.

3(1) no manufacturer, importer distributor or retailer of tobacco products shall :

a) advertise a tobacco product in a manner which associates smoking with social success, business advancements and sporting prowess

(b) advertise a tobacco product on radio or television

(c) feature a tobacco product advertisement in a cinema during shows certified for viewing by persons under the age of 18 years

(d) place a tobacco product advertisement exceeding a single page size in a magazine

(f) place a tobacco product advertisement in a publication that has an adult readership of less than 75%

(g) distribute to the public any unsolicited leaflet or other document that is or contains a tobacco product advertisement

(h) place a tobacco product advertisement on an outdoor sign exceeding 36 square meters

(i) place a tobacco product advertisement on an outdoor sign within 400 meters from a primary school or secondary school or school ground

(j) place a tobacco product advertisement on a sign on the outside of a retail outlet

(k) place a tobacco product advertisement on the window of a retail outlet if such an advertisement faces outwards

(l) place a tobacco product advertisement inside a shop, other retail outlet or venue where tobacco products are offered or exposed for sale, except (i) directly adjacent to a place where all or any of those tobacco products are offered or exposed for sale or (ii) in a venue which is accessible only to persons over the age of 18 years.

3.6 "may" (line 17) replaced by "must".

3 Clause 8

"age of sixteen years" to be replaced "with age of eighteen years".

IFP PROPOSAL ON AMENDMENTS TO TOBACCO LEGISLATION

Dear Dr Nkomo, members of ANC Health Committee and other interested

MP's,

The IFP would like to support the Tobacco Bill. We do so in principle. However, we would like to do so on the basis of certain amendments that would change the degree and the time frames of the legislation.

Smoking is harmful and the state has a duty to discourage people, particularly the youth, from adopting the habit. But it is not the greatest scourge in our country. Therefore draconian measures aimed at eradicating the tobacco industry are somewhat excessive whereas a more gradual phasing out and replacement with other forms of agriculture should be our aim. This could be achieved by banning smoking in pubic places, while allowing " tomb -stone advertising" (at least one third of the space contains warnings and only words without any appealing images, are allowed ). At a later date, a total ban could be introduced.

We believe that sponsorship of sporting and cultural events must be allowed to continue in view of the complete lack of government funds or tax concessions to promote these activities.

We support aspects of the legislation calling for a ban of smoking in pubic places and would suggest inclusion of permitting smoking only in a closed, ventilated room, specially designated for that purpose.

Therefore amendments would be as follows:

Page 4.

2 (a) No advertisement , visual, oral or written, may contain images intended to promote the use of tobacco products. Advertisements may only provide product information, may include the use of logos or trade marks and must be accompanied by WARNINGS as prescribed and comprising not less than one third of the time or space allotted to the advertisement.

Page 6

2 (l) Add after 2k

Smoking may be allowed in a public place if a special designated, ventilated, closed room is provided for that purpose.

Page 6

4. Delete 3 (1) a,b,(2) a,b,c,, (3) (4) .

Retain on Page 8 3. (5) a,b,c,

We hope that these will be favourably viewed by you as compromise positions that achieve the ends we all seek.

IFP PRESS RELEASE

20 October, 1998

IFP RESPONSE TO TOBACCO BILL

The Inkatha Freedom Party favours the adoption of the Tobacco Bill into law subject to the introduction of amendments that would moderate the severity of the proposed legislation and the time-frames proposed for its application.

It is evident, and now universally accepted, that smoking is harmful to health. Young people should be discouraged in their own interests, and in the interests of the society, from becoming addicted to tobacco.


But smoking is by the no means the only, or even the greatest health threat faced by the community and there seems to be little justification for draconian measures to deal with the problem. On the contrary, commonsense suggests that a gradual and orderly phasing out of the industry and its replacement with other agricultural products would ease the transition to the tobacco-free society which most people desire. This could be initiated by banning smoking in all public places (except in specially arranged enclosed and ventilated premises or environs) and enforcing anti-tobacco health warnings in all tobacco advertising as a prior measure leading up to the banning of all tobacco advertising.

The IFP can see no reason why sponsorship of sporting and cultural activities by tobacco companies should not continue while new sponsorship is sought. Government is not in a position, at present, to make good the shortage of funds for these purposes.

While the IFP desires the elimination of the harmful effects of tobacco on South Africa and its people, and will encourage that outcome in every appropriate way, it also believes that repressive and draconian measures are neither called-for nor are they likely to be most effective in achieving the desired goal.

ISSUED BY DR. R. RABINOWITZ, SPOKESPERSON ON HEALTH FOR THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY.

Tel. 021 403 3273

New National Party

To: the Chairman of the Portfolio Committee of Health

20 October 1998

The New National Party hereby requests the Department of Health to submit a memorandum containing the scientific justification and research data about the issues listed to the Portfolio Committee of Health before the commencement of Deliberations on Wednesday 21 October 1998.

1. Research data on the impact of tobacco advertising on the smoking habits of the youth

2. Research data on the impact of environmental tobacco smoke (passive smoking) on the incidence of lung cancer and heart disease

3. Scientific evidence that the total ban of tobacco advertising will lower the incidence of smoking amongst the youth

4. Statistics about the incidence of smoking amongst the youth in South Africa and in general

5. Justification that a total ban versus a partial ban of advertisement shall have the desired effect on youth smoking or smoking in general.

6. Smoking habits per volume in the RSA (on the increase or decrease)?

7. A social impact study to indicate what the effect of the total ban on tobacco advertising would have on:

· the economy

· job creation

· joblosses

· sport sponsorships

8. Reasons why children take up smoking

Kobus Gous, MP

PAN AFRICANIST CONGRESS (P.A.C.)

OF AZANIA

OFFICE OF THE CHIEF WHIP

21 October 1998

THE TOBACCO LEGISLATION

Promoting a healthier life style among the people requires a lot of effort to persuade them to develop healthy habits. Such efforts at health education will always clash with vested interests - the companies and organisation who benefit from the unhealthy habits by making profit and encouraging them

A huge industry has grown around the marketing and manufacture of tobacco products especially cigarettes. There is no longer any doubt that cigarette smoking is one of the biggest causes of ill-health - almost as bad as poverty. The PAC would like to see an end of poverty and of cigarette smoking and will continue to work for their elimination from our land.

Our concern with this legislation on tobacco advertising is that it is too draconian and relies too heavily on restrictions and controls. Dr Zuma has good intentions but continually tries to realise them in a heavy- handed way.

The PAC favours a more gradual approach which will not cause major and sudden economic disruption for our country and its immediate neighbours SADC. We would prefer to concentrate our efforts on health promotion. The tobacco industry, however has massive resources at their disposal and we believe that it should contribute to the health education initiatives. For every rand that the tobacco industry spends on promoting itself and its product we believe they should pay another rand into a fund that will be concerned with anti-tobacco initiatives especially among children. That fund should not only be able to advertise directly but also sponsor sports and cultural events.

At the moment we see health messages on billboards and cigarette packs, as a weak and bland addition to cigarette advertisements. They have become something of a joke especially those that tell you not to smoke if you're pregnant Men are the biggest users of cigarettes and they just sigh with relief when they read that. Families crowded into cramped shacks or match box houses can hardly avoid exposing children to cigarette smoke.

The Government must consult with tobacco farmworkers and with the SADC Governments how to develop alternative agricultural products to tobacco.

The damage caused by tobacco is a very serious and constant threat to the people's health. But the threat will only be ended when the people themselves realise it. That will only happen when their lives are full of hope and brimming with security and achievement. The tobacco industry cannot address itself to such issues - it is only concerned with maximising its profit. That has been clearly demonstrated. The PAC will keep pressing them to act in a more socially acceptable way.

In the meantime the PAC will concentrate on the elimination of poverty and redressing the obscene inequalities in our country. Those are the pressing issues in the field of health today.

The PAC is convinced after listening to the public submissions that the Bill is unconstitutional and therefore propose that the Bill be sent back to the Department of Health for rectification.

Patricia de Lille

Member of Parliament

 

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