Presentation in support of the TOBACCO PRODUCTS AMENDMENT Bill
By Mrs Rhenolda Davies on behalf of the CAPE TOWN NO TOBACCO FORUM
Good morning Madam Chairperson, Honourable guests, ladies and gentlemen,
As a member, and on behalf of the CAPE TOWN NO TOBACCO FORUM, we see the Bill to be a significant contribution to Public Health in South Africa, and also protects consumers' rights. We herald the Bill as it has health, commercial and strategic benefits for all South Africans and tourists. The Forum has representatives from:
(1) the various local authorities in Cape Town
(2) NGO'S doing exceptional work In tobacco control, namely, the HEART FOUNDATION and CANCER ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA
(3) representatives from the HEALTH COMMITTEES FORUM OF CAPE TOWN, who have been democratically chosen to represent the grassroots communities in Cape Town.
The CAPE TOWN NO TOBACCO FORUM welcomes and supports the tabling of the draft Tobacco Products Amendment Bill for the following reasons which I will highlight further in my presentation.
(1) The benefits (namely health, commercial and strategic benefits) that this legislation will have by restricting smoking in certain public places and the workplace.
(2) I will provide succinct true, factual documented information of the adverse effects that passive smoking, also called Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) has on non smokers and innocent children, especially, all who have an inherent right to breathe clean air unpolluted by tobacco smoke; and, the right to grow-up free from the pressures to use tobacco. As a tobacco control activists, and a responsible government, we have the grave responsibility to ensure that there are legal frameworks and administrative mechanisms and support systems in place to uphold this right to breathe clean air at all times; and minimise the exposure Environmental Tobacco Smoke with its severe detrimental and harmful health effects.
(3) I will also highlight the pathological effects that smoking can have on one's health, by asking one off our patients to share his smoking experiences with us today. A patient aged 51 years, who has been diagnosed to have lung cancer due to smoking.
(4) Finally, I will share with you the process and phenomenal success we have experienced since the City Of cape Town municipality passed Regulations on 28 April 1995, restricting smoking In many Public places in Cape Town.
DANGERS OF PASSIVE SMOKING
If one is in the presence of someone who is smoking, one becomes a passive smoker.
Passive Smoke or Environmental Tobacco Smoke [ETS] can cause non-smokers to experience the following:
sore eyes, headaches, sneezing, runny nose, dry stuffy nose, dizziness, sore throats, wheezing and a hoarse voice.
Individuals with pre-existing respiratory and cardio-vascular disease may be more susceptible to exacerbation of their symptoms, for example, development of an acute asthma attack or angina.
ETS causes lung cancer.
Exposure of children to passive smoke, from parental smoking, is causally associated with:
Increased prevalence of coughs, wheezing and middle ear effusion increased risk of pneumonia bronchiolitis and bronchitis additional episodes and increased severity of asthma In children who already have asthma.
reduced lung function.
By restricting smoking In public places, many more children and non smokers will not need to be exposed to passive smoking and their severely detrimental effects as I have explained.
This cost effective strategy ensures greater health, social and economic benefits for a great number of the population.
Environmental Tobacco Smoke contains essentially all the carcinogens and toxic agents that are inhaled by the smoker. ETS is harmful to non-smokers because It causes lung cancer and heart disease; and aggravates allergies and asthma; all leading to premature death and disability.
The detrimental and lethal effects of ETS are one major reason why we call on GOVERNMENT to pass the" Benefit" Bill which interlay restricts smoking in public places and the work place.
Legislation to restrict smoking in public places has a ripple effect in that it impels additional Institutions, and commercial establishments to ban smoking voluntarily, leading to voluntary extension of the policy. In this way, nonsmoking becomes the social norm.
With a legislative framework that supports restrictions of smoking in public place on-going concerted public health measures of education, Information and awareness drives on the following issues, namely,
(1) the dangers of smoking.
(2) the effects and dangers of passive smoking (ETS)
(3) the rights of non-smokers.
will achieve high rates of success in changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding tobacco consumption to more healthier life styles.
Over time the" Doomsday" scenario we are experiencing presently from tobacco consumption namely, many and needless pro-mature deaths and disability will be greatly reduced.
Legislation and education of the Public go hand in hand. In the field of tobacco control, legislation and education complement one another as I will highlight from personal working experience in tobacco control programmes instituted by the City of Cape Town Municipality.
On 28 APRIL 1995, The Cape Town Municipality issued Regulations relating to the Smoking of tobacco products in public places. To inform the general public of the Regulations, an on-going concerted, strategic health education, awareness and information drive was implemented by the Health Promotion and Environmental Health staff of the Municipality.
Posters depicting where smoking is not allowed in public, plus information pamphlets were produced and widely distributed to the public. Radio advertisements to reinforce the messages about the dangers of smoking and the rights of non-smokers were Produced and flighted." NO SMOKING " Exhibitions were organised at shopping malls to raise awareness among the general public about:
(1) the dangers of smoking
(2) the effects of passive smoking
(3) the rights of non-smokers
(4) the need to quit smoking and where to seek help.
Initially, we received numerous queries and adverse comments from Irate smokers as well as calls from nonsmokers who welcomed the regulations.
Evaluating the progress and results to date shows the following:
(1) less smoking occurring especially In public places and at our workplaces
(2) private enterprises continually contact us to find out how to implement a smoke-free policy in the work pace
(3) greater tolerance from smokers
(4) smokers phone asking where to obtain help to quit smoking.
We are now receiving many more courteous calls, ranging from how to implement a smoke-free policy in the work place to support and praise from the public, for our efforts.
I appeal to the House, and all anxious parties here present today who are truly concerned how the Bill, when it becomes law, will be enacted /implemented - accept the passing of this Bill and the implementation process will be phased in over time with great acceptance, tolerance and ultimate success securing health and economic benefits to all South Africans, including tourists.
In view of the many competing demands, for scarce resources, namely, for money, materials and man-power, for health promotion and health services in all countries, legislation mandating health education Is essential as a means of ensuring that cost effective strategies in health education aimed at reducing tobacco consumption, will be undertaken.