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SA has until Thursday to make comments on the Draft Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill, which has been out for public deliberation for three months. The bill, in essence, aims to reduce the prevalence of smokers in SA, which has plateaued at 19% of the population for the last decade. It proposes to do this by removing indoor smoking areas and regulating the use and sale of e-cigarettes. At the same time, it aims to protect 81% of the population from harmful second hand smoke.

However, these proposed legislative changes have been challenged by the tobacco industry and those that suggest the illicit trade in tobacco is growing. In the latest attempts to challenge the bill and divert attention from the necessity for these legislative changes, they’ve raised questions about the socio-economic impact assessment (SEIA) of the bill done by the department of health. The SEIA has been called a motivation rather than an objective assessment of the risks, be...

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