New Proposed Smoking Legislation in the Workplace

How the draft Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill may impact you as the Employer
The legislation plans to introduce a number of changes to South African smoking laws, including:

  • A zero-tolerance policy on in-door smoking in public places (including the removal of designated smoking areas in restaurants).
  • A ban on outdoor smoking in public places.
  • When smoking outside, smokers must be at least 10 meters away from public entrances.
  • The removal of all signage on cigarette packaging aside from the brand name and warning stickers.
  • Cigarettes may no longer be publicly displayed by retailers.

What does this mean for the Employer:
In terms of section 6 of the draft Bill, an employer must ensure that;

  1. Employees may object to smoking in the workplace in contravention of this Act without retaliation of any kind.
  2. Employees who do not want to be exposed to tobacco smoke at the workplace are not so exposed.
  3. It is not a condition of employment, expressly or implied, that any employee is required to work in any portion of the workplace where smoking is permitted by law.
  4. Employees are not required to sign any indemnity for working in any portion of the workplace where smoking is permitted by law.

Employers may be jailed up for up to 1 year if employees are unwillingly exposed to smoking. The draft Bill bans smoking in all enclosed public spaces and enclosed workplaces.
Other key provisions in the draft Bill include:

  1. Smoking will also be banned in vehicles where there is more than one person in that vehicle, and specifically children under the age of 18.
  2. Manufacturers of cigarettes and electronic tobacco devices will be forced to remove all branding on package, with an exception to the company’s logo – or risk a five-year prison sentence.
  3. If appropriate signage banning smoking are not placed in public spaces and workplaces, the person in charge of the area can be jailed up to five years.
  4. A one-year maximum prison sentence for placing an automated vending machine containing tobacco products.
  5. A five-year maximum prison term for tobacco companies sponsoring events with corporate branding, or advertising and promoting products.
  6. A person can be jailed for up to five years for offering a financial or other incentive to a retailer to encourage the sale of the tobacco products.

South Africans have until August 9 to comment on the bill. To view the full Bill, follow this link.