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Vaping in South Africa: Rules and regulations


Smoking is highly regulated in certain countries because of the health and environmental consequences. South Africa is one of such countries where very strict rules and regulations exist to monitor smoking. With the well-established rules and regulations on smoking in South Africa, one will expect similar regulations on vaping. However, that is not the case. Well-established rules and regulations on vaping do not exist in South Africa. This article highlights the rules and regulations on smoking as well as the development of rules and regulations as regards vaping.  For more comprehensive information please click on links on a myriad of sites on line.

South African rules and regulations on smoking

Smoking has been established as associated with several health conditions. These conditions include high blood pressure, cancer and premature aging. Because of the health conditions associated with smoking, South African laws restrict smoking in public spaces. Recent laws proposed even aim to stop smoking in most of the public spaces where it is allowed. Penalties have also been established for defaulters of the rules and regulations on smoking. The Ministry of Health has also noted that work is underway towards ensuring that the players in the tobacco industry can bypass fewer rules and regulations.

South African rules and regulations on vaping

Rules similar to those established against smoking in South Africa are lacking for vaping. Vaping is generally considered as safer than smoking as vapers are not exposed to as many chemicals as smokers. Thus, the tobacco bill of South Africa does not apply to vaping.

Since it is also a recent trend, sufficient research has not been carried out to establish how much damage vaping can cause. This is another reason why the laws that apply to smoking do not apply to vaping. Also, research that has been carried out the implication of vaping have established conflicting findings.

For example, since it has not been established that vaping involves burning tobacco, e-cigarettes can be smoked indoors in South Africa. This is, however, not the case for traditional cigarettes as smokers are prohibited from smoking indoors in South Africa.

The fact that the no-smoking-indoors law does not apply to vaping has also been linked to the fact that vaping requires gentle heating of the liquid while smoking burns tobacco which has been linked to different health conditions.

Because vaping is not included in the South African Tobacco Control Act, vapers are allowed much more freedom and are generally allowed to smoke e-cigarettes in public. These public spaces include offices and restaurants. It should, however, be noted that the restriction of smoking of e-cigarettes in public spaces is also left to the discretion of the management of the space.

Arguments that support the lack of rules and regulations restricting vaping in South Africa are based on the fact that research has not proven that vaping is harmful. Until such findings are made, vaping may remain largely unregulated in South Africa. Even without established restrictions, vaping products and supplies are largely not sold to minors in South Africa, and certain organizations are making moves to stop smoking e-cigarettes in offices.