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Updated 19 March 2013

Less space for smokers

The government will issue regulations this week to tighten the noose on smokers, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said.

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The government will issue regulations this week to tighten the noose on smokers, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said.

"These new regulations will, inter alia, restrict the smoking of tobacco outside of buildings," he said in a speech prepared for delivery at a World Health Organisation meeting on non-communicable diseases.

Motsoaledi said smokers gathering outside buildings in which the use of tobacco was prohibited had become a familiar sight. They stood at the entrance to buildings, polluting the air just outside.

"People entering or exiting these building have, up to now, been subject to walking through a haze of smoke to the detriment of our health," the minister said. "This is unacceptable and these new regulations will prohibit this practice."

Criticism on the smoking regulations 

The Regulations on Smoking in Public Places and Certain Outdoor Public Places have elicited criticism.

Some organisations believe that, among other things, they will infringe on the autonomy of individuals on their own property. Motsoaledi was undeterred on Monday.

"We have not stopped in our regulation process and will not stop while people are still choosing to smoke tobacco," he said.

Health department spokesman Joe Maila said the regulations would be gazetted for final publication later in the week.

The regulations will set down further conditions for smokers such as the distances from other people that they may smoke in public places.

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