Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
The best way to control smoking is through the total ban of tobacco and its products.
This was the view of both smokers and non-smokers yesterday when they responded to the debate currently under way in parliament to tighten the country's smoking laws.
The National Council Against Smoking has urged parliament to add more restrictions on smoking in an attempt to protect secondhand smokers and prevent teenagers from starting the habit.
Sowetan conducted a snap survey in the Johannesburg city yesterday.
Interviewees, both smokers and non-smokers, said the government should ban smoking altogether.
Daphne Molawa said she has an 18-month-old asthmatic son who is badly affected by cigarette smoke.
"My child gets very sick if he has been exposed to smoking. He coughs endlessly and it becomes my problem to take him to the doctor when the person who caused it is not there. People, especially children, are supposed to be protected from secondhand smoke."
Non-smoker Pabala Maphike said: "Tightening the law will not be the right thing. Does it mean people will have to leave the buildings they are working in to smoke somewhere in the park? I understand the part that says you cannot smoke in the car, especially when there are children onboard."
Sihle Hlophe said the government was taking the law too far. Hlophe, who also does not smoke, said smoking was wrong in the same way as drinking, but its effects are better because people never do silly things or commit violent acts because they had smoked cigarettes.
"The best way to control smoking is to ban its manufacturing," he said.
Moffat Khumalo and Sandile Nyandeni, both smokers, supported the idea of banning smoking altogether.
However, Khumalo said: "If we can't smoke outside the buildings, where are we going to smoke? Some of our workplaces do not have areas designated for smoking."
If the law is passed an individual caught smoking in public would be fined R500 and companies would have to cough up R50 000.