The Legal Taboos of Tobacco

Smokers beware - Tobacco and the law

The South African law is constantly tightening up on ways to stop smokers from lighting up.


In fact, the final approval of the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act is fast approaching this year. This Act proposes stricter smoking laws than ever. These will include:

  • A zero-tolerance policy on in-door smoking in public places;
  • A ban on outdoor smoking in public places and at least 10 metres away from public entrances
  • The removal of all signage on cigarette packaging aside from the brand name and warning stickers.
  • Shops and retailers are banned from any public displays of cigarettes.

If you want to quit smoking, read this article.

Current Laws

In the meantime, make sure that you are obeying the current laws around smoking:

  • You can't buy or sell tobacco products if you're under 18.
  • You can't smoke in a car if one of the passengers is a child under 12.
  • Smoking in partially-enclosed public places, such as covered patios, verandas, balconies, walkways or parking areas, is illegal.
  • Smoking on premises that are used for commercial childcare activities or for schooling or tutoring is illegal. This includes private homes that are being used to run crèches.
  • No more than 25% of a public space can be designated a smoking area. A public space can be defined as a building or even a means of transport such as a train.
  • Any smoking area must be physically isolated and separated from the rest of the public space. This means it must be enclosed and the smoky air vented to the outside.
  • Sugar cigarettes in cute packaging that often were sold to children as a sweet treat, have now been banned.
  • No smoking is allowed in cinemas, on domestic flights in the country or on any public transport.

Punishment for breaking these laws

Be careful, going against the law will cost you, not just your health, but money as well!

For example, the owner of a restaurant, pub, bar or workplace can be fined up to R50 000 if his/her premises breach the smoking laws. The fine for any smoker lighting up in a non-smoking zone can be up to R500.

Also, if someone is caught selling a ‘loose’ cigarette they can be fined up to R100 000.

The strict laws around smoking are a clear sign of what a danger to the wellbeing of society, smoking is.

Need more information on the laws surrounding smoking?

As your companion through life, Legal&Tax urges you to put your health and wealth first and make tobacco taboo.

If you would like more information, speak to one of our legal experts.

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