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Country Details For

South Africa

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South Africa became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on April 19, 2005.

Smoke Free Places: South Africa permits designated smoking areas in workplaces, public places and public transport.  For workplaces and specified public places, up to 25 percent of floor space may be set aside for smoking. Specified public places include: smoking establishments, bars, pubs, taverns, night clubs, casinos, restaurants, hotels, guesthouses, Bed & Breakfasts, game lodges, and airports. In passenger ships and passengers trains with more than 10 cars, up to 25 percent of the space may be designated as smoking areas. Passenger trains less than 10 cars may designate only one car as a smoking area. Sub-national jurisdictions can enact smoke free laws that are more stringent than the national law, but no sub-national jurisdictions currently have such laws in place.

Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship:  South Africa has a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, with certain exceptions. Books, magazines, newspapers, film or video transmission made outside South Africa are exempt from the ban. Tobacco products may be visible at point of sale but must be displayed in such a manner that customers may not handle tobacco products prior to purchase.  One-meter signs displaying product availability and price may be displayed at point of sale.  A manufacturer or importer of a tobacco product may make a charitable financial contribution or sponsorship, but may not publicize that contribution or sponsorship.

Tobacco Packaging and Labeling:  Smokeable tobacco product packages must contain one of eight primary and accompanying secondary warnings.  The primary warning must occupy 15 percent of the front of the package and the secondary warning must occupy 25 percent of the back of the package.  The law requires a side panel warning stating yields of tar and nicotine, which must occupy 20 percent of one of the sides.  Misleading terms, descriptors and other indicia that create a false impression that one tobacco product may be less harmful than another are banned. 

Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation: The Tobacco Products Control Act 83 of 1993 is the primary tobacco control law in South Africa and governs many aspects of tobacco control, including, but not limited to, public smoking restrictions; packaging and labeling of tobacco products; and tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.   Four tobacco control regulations have been issued under this law:  1) Regulations Relating to the Labeling, Advertising, and Sale of Tobacco Products (which regulates packaging and labeling); 2) Notice Relating to Smoking of Tobacco Products in Public Places (which regulates public smoking); 3) Regulations Relating to the Point of Sale of Tobacco Products (which regulates signs at point of sale); and 4) Regulations Relating to Provisions for Exemption For Unintended Consequences and the Phasing out of Existing Sponsorship or Contractual Obligations (which exempts cross-border advertising from the ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship).

Review Status

This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff in consultation with in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts.

Last updated: January 7th 2013
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