The Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act, which comes into effect on October 1st, imposes tight controls on smoking in restaurants, pubs, shebeens, hotels and workplaces, as well as limiting tobacco advertising and the sale of tobacco products.
Smoking areas in restaurants, pubs and shebeens will be limited to a designated area not more than a quarter of the total floor area of the venue. The smoking area must be separated from the rest of the public place by a solid partition and an entrance door.
Ventilation from the designated smoking area must expel the smoke without that air being re-circulated to any other area in the public space.
Proprietors will have three months from the date on which the final regulations are promulgated in which to erect partitions between smoking and non-smoking areas of their establishments.
Cigar bars are exempted from the regulations, provided they comply with the definition in the Act which states that a cigar bar must derive its primary business from the sale of cigars and not from alcohol.
Restaurants with 35 seats and less must become non-smoking restaurants, unless the owners can afford to create a separate non-smoking section. Any public place can choose to prohibit smoking entirely.
In terms of the regulations governing smoking in the workplace, employers must ensure that employees who do not wish to be exposed to tobacco smoke are protected. Employees may object to tobacco smoke “without retaliation of any kind”.
In offices where a “smoking room” may be set aside for employees who smoke, this room must be supplied with an air conditioner with a separate exhaust system so that smoke is not recycled through the building.
Contracts and sponsorships for the advertising of tobacco products will in future be prohibited. It is envisaged that by April next year there should be no further tobacco sponsorship of public events.
Agreements, which existed or were binding on April 23, 1999 (the date of the publication of the Act), may continue for two more years, provided that all advertising and promotional material displays one of the health messages approved by the Department of Health. – Health-e News Service.