According to the fourth World Health Organisation (WHO) global tobacco trends report released in November, tobacco use in SA is expected to drop by 6% in the next three years.
SA is among the bottom four countries failing to deal with tobacco industry interference, and is lagging in tobacco control laws compared to those that will meet 2025 targets.
Uganda and Kenya are expected to see 54% and 30% drops in smoking rates respectively by 2025, and both have put in place stronger tobacco control laws.
Nyatsanza said the state needs to urgently finalise the Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill, which imposes 100% smoking bans in public areas, to curb youth addiction. The bill seeks to tighten loopholes in the law and bring e-cigarettes into the regulatory net.
“Whilst SA was a leader in tobacco control it now lags. Other countries now have 100% smoke-free indoor areas, pictorial health warnings and plain packaging,” she said.
“SA still has small text health warnings that allows designated smoking areas. Much more can be done to tighten up the gaps used by the industry to expand its market and hook more people to nicotine.
“What we now see is aggressive marketing of e-cigarettes through traditional platforms and also on social media. The Tobacco Control Bill will strengthen the existing policies, regulating e-cigarettes and protect public health.”