South Africa use to be a “leader in tobacco control in Africa and across the world” () as a result of its stringent tobacco control laws it has in place, even before the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC). This title has since been lost as South African tobacco laws, over the past decade “weren’t updated according to current WHO’s standards” ( ), meaning its once strict laws are now considered below par. This is predominantly due to these laws being implemented in the ‘Tobacco Products Control Act of 1993” (P. Reddy, 2013) and were last effectively revised in the 1999 amendment. As a result “16.8 percent of adults (age 15+) in South Africa smoke cigarettes” (Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, 2017).
As you can see from figure. 1, the most significant drop in tobacco use it due to the original implementation of tobacco laws in 1993 (c), resulting in “cigarette consumption decreasing by 39% between 1991 and 2004” (P. Reddy, 2013). Since then Tobacco has unfortunately increased in usage as South Africa lacks any effective anti-tobacco campaigns or legislation. Their most prominent is the annual “Anti-Tobacco Campaign Month” (South African Government, 2016) held in May, which is mainly based off the global campaign “World No Tobacco day 31st May” (The Star, 2017). Although this government led programme doesn’t have much marketing behind it including no obvious kind of aggressive or quit-focused approach towards Tobacco. This is one of South Africa’s main problems with trying to prevent Tobacco use, as they do not put enough emphasis on the health problems related to smoking Tobacco.
This government funded initiative has much more room to grow and has dozens of different campaign approaches to draw inspiration from, such as Singapore’s ‘I quit’ campaign as a more quit-friendly approach, or adopting Australia’s more aggressive ‘graphic health warning’ campaigns (video linked below). If the South African government decides on a path to go down for anti-tobacco campaigning, they will see a major reduction in smoking for both adults and youths as there is a “great deal of evidence from the rest of the world” that these types of campaigning are effective ().
On the 9th May 2018 “South Africa’s Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi published a new tobacco control bill” (), making this the only recent action towards a tobaccoless nation. This Bill intends to eradicate cigarette vending machines, enforce more stringent plain packaging laws, include e-cigarettes in these regulations and more. With these laws meeting the WHO’s current requirements, South Africa will be closer to achieving a tobaccoless nation.
Catherine O. Egbe. (2018). How South Africa is tightening its tobacco rules, The Conversation, Viewed 10 January 2019 < https://theconversation.com/how-south-africa-is-tightening-its-tobacco-rules-97382 >
P. Reddy. (2013). SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. vol.103 n.11 Cape Town Jan. 2013, SciELO, Viewed 10 January 2019 < http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-95742013001100018 >
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. (2017). The Toll of Tobacco in South Africa, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Viewed 9 January 2019 < https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/problem/toll-global/africa/south-africa >
South African Government. (2016). Anti-Tobacco Campaign Month 2017, Republic of south Africa, Viewed 9 January 2019 < https://www.gov.za/speeches/anti-tobacco-campaign-month-2017-16-nov-2016-0949 >
The Star. (2017). About 8 million adults in SA smoke 27 billion cigarettes a year, IOL, Viewed 10 January 2019 < https://www.iol.co.za/the-star/about-8-million-adults-in-sa-smoke-27-billion-cigarettes-a-year-9429417 >
Tr125874. (2007). Graphic Lung Cancer Anti Smoking ad, YouTube, Viewed 11 January 2019 < https://youtu.be/W2Rrw1AFejo >
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. (2018) CONTROL OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS AND ELECTRONIC DELIVERY SYSTEMS BILL, Department of Health, Viewed 10 January 2019 < https://www.gov.za/sites/default/files/gcis_document/201805/41617gon475re.pdf >