Yesterday, 31 May 2011, was the World Health Organisation (WHO) dictated “World No Tobacco Day”. Just in case you didnt know, or didnt care about lighting up and taking a good old drag of your cancer stick while committing some form of crime (let’s face it, all criminal smoke) the purpose of this day was to increase awareness in a bid to combat the estimated five million a year plus tabacco related deaths.
Now onto a little bit of background as to why you are going to be fined up to R500 for puffing a ‘rette in an area that you’re not supposed to:
The WHO FCTC is a treaty signed by more than 170 United Nations members, including South Africa, which mandates preventative and punitive measures around tobacco usage. It is built around the ethos that all people deserve to enjoy the highest possible standards of health thereby making it ok for the governments involved to put regulations in place to; protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke, ensuring that cautionary labelling is displayed prominently on packaging containing tobacco products and adopting price and tax measures to act as disincentives to smokers.
Contrary to our normal status quo South Africa has been one of the most pro-active of the African countries in terms of implementing measures around awareness of the dangers of tobacco, enforcing health warnings on packets and increasing tax on tobacco products. But wait- that’s clearly not good enough to dissuade you all from having your next eintjie:
The City of Cape Town has threatened to crack down on patrons who break anti-smoking laws at entertainment establishments, including restaurants and pubs, warning that it will start fining errant individuals for the first time since anti-tobacco curbs were introduced in South Africa. In yet another utter waste of police resources, City health head Ivan Bromfield said metro police had agreed to start fining individuals from next week. Bromfield said the city had run many awareness campaigns, and that it was now time to start fining patrons who smoke in areas not designated for smoking. Fines of up to R500 each would be issued on the spot.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think its quite siff when you’re forced to endure smokey clubs and ciggy burns up and down your arms from drunk girls but I really think that the Metro police could be doing something more productive with their time like maybe fighting violent crime.
Amendments to the Tobacco Control Act, which came into effect in September 2009, banned smoking in entertainment areas, including bars, clubs, on restaurant patios and walkways, on balconies and in parkades. The amendments also banned smoking in cars in which children younger than 12 are passengers, and put a stop to the sale of products such as sweets and chocolates by cigarette vendors.
Vanessa Sew Chung Hong, the brand manager of NICORETTE®, a leading Nicotine Replacement Therapy brand, practically did a backflip in her support for the new call to action:
“We wholeheartedly support the WHO and the South African government in their endeavours for a tobacco free society” says , “And we are proud to say this World No Tobacco Day that our products have helped more than 60 million smokers give up their addiction.”
If you are a smoker, dont burn me with your eintjie while dancing like a retard and I’ll be ok with it- however, smoking in the presence of kiddies- well that’s just not ok.