Updated 26 March 2018

Stricter smoking laws are good – but what about alcohol, readers ask

Strict new smoking laws are coming, and readers mostly accept this and agree - but many want to know: if the government can be this aggressive about tackling smoking, why not alcohol?

At a recent tobacco and health conference, SA Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, told delegates how he hates the tobacco industry and plans to implement stricter legislation, aimed at making it harder for people to smoke.

Stricter legislation includes clamping down of smoking near building entrances, abolishing cigarette vending machines, no smoking in public buildings at all and using plain packaging on cigarette boxes along with the possible inclusion of graphic image deterrents.

Many readers have responded to Motsoaledi's statements and feedback is published unedited. Please note that these are the views of our readers and do not necessarily represent the views of Health24.

What about alcohol?

"I have been a tobacco smoker for 27 years. I have always been considerate towards non-smokers, but daily you see people young and old, drinking alcohol in public, on the street, in their vehicles and in parking lots. Come down on us smokers with tougher legislation but do the same to those drinking alcohol and driving on our roads too. If this legislation had been implemented 27 years ago, I might have never started smoking in the first place."

- Gauteng Smoker

"Then stop the use of alcohol as well as I am in greater danger to a drinker than a smoker."

- Anonymous

"I find the proposed legislation a little laughable. As a non-drinker, when government can put as much effort into trying to get people to give up alcohol as they do smoking then I can maybe support them. As the wife of a smoker, as far as I am concerned being surrounded by drunks at sports matches or in public places or even being on the road with drunk drivers is way worse than the few puffs of second hand smoke I may inhale."

- Mandy Adams

"I think it is not fair to place smokers under such harsh terms. If we are prepared to do this to smokers, why not then also have a stronger grip over alcohol adverts and so on?

"Most people I think die of car accidents due to drunk drivers versus smokers in the hospital. Why not also make stronger regulation on the Ministers for take away food at parliament as most of them look obese. Where do we draw the rights of some versus others?

"It seems that parliament is not making decisions for the public but rather against the citizens just to irritate us."

- Frikkie

"This is a personal choice the same as obesity... if a person is fat, don't allow them in your restaurant and advertise the risks of obesity in restaurants and public places. It is also the same with the use of alcohol... place big banners of the results of being an alcoholic which causes "mayhem" in personal and public places as well as on the roads killing innocent people and the results of drinking alcohol which leads to ABUSE... abuse of woman men and children... physical, emotional... verbally... financially. That should be printed on alcohol bottles in big letters and photos. BAN the use of alcohol in restaurants and public places.

"Wake up Minister of health! Act on alcohol!"

- Anonymous

Go for it!

"The minister has some wonderful and necessary ideas that should be immediately brought into force. However, as in the past, these ideas often get as far as recommendations. Example is a few years ago one of his recommendations was that no smoking would be allowed within 50 metres of anyone on a beach.

"A most important recommendation but never promulgated. 

"What a disgrace and nobody is ever fined for littering with many bins around and non-smokers have to be poisoned by the cigarette addicts' couldn’t care less selfish behaviour."

- Allan Danker

"Way overdue! It's a drug and should be treated as so, with prescription necessary. This farce has gone on for far too long. Tobacco industry aiming at young and ignorant people. It's all about money."

- Bruce

"I agree 100% with this new legislation please go forth with it. Nothing I hate more than walking out a mall or shop and people blowing smoke all over the place. Also great for banning from restaurants as well cause no matter where you sit it's still so gross. Just my opinion.

"Also parents or people smoking in vehicles with kids should also be stopped, or fine them."

- Mrs C. Davis

"The proposed amendments are long overdue and I am happy to see that e-cigarettes are to be included. Smoking should ONLY be allowed in private residences and NOT in public at all! I don't want to have to inhale other people's second hand cigarette smoke!"

- Kevin

How will this affect taxes, jobs?

"If smoking to the Health Minister is so atrocious, why don't they just ban the selling of cigarettes? Oh yes, cigarettes or the sale thereof actually contributes greatly to the GDP of this country! As a smoker, as long as I am not inflicting second or third hand smoking on anyone, I consider it my business.

"It amazes me that so much effort is afforded to cigarettes, we keep on being advised on health issues, and how smoking kills. Well, I suggest the government should concentrate on the murderers out there killing people, drug dealers selling drugs to our kids… etc."

- Beverley

"Please take note how many job losses will occur. If you stop smoking in pubs completely we will have to retrench workers as we will lose patronage.

"Restaurants and pubs are slowly sinking as the sin tax is strangling us too. Please think of how many restaurants and pubs in every town and do your calculations. This will incur massive job losses. Surely our economy is not ready for this?"

- Anton de Voogd

The Minister must be stopped!

"I don't agree with our dear minister of the smoking matter. He can't put laws that'll stop us from smoking in certain public areas. Where there are children, yes we cannot smoke or where there are people with asthma we can't smoke there too.

"In other places, there he really can't stop us. Next he'll try to stop us from smoking on the streets and ban smoking there."

- Anonymous

"Firstly I think this is a whole load of BS; we are spending our own money to purchase tobacco; it's such an inconvenience for smokers already. I'm dead sure there are other things that are more important to deal with in this country, for crying out loud, sort the government hospitals; innocent people are dying at these hospitals but nothing is being done to sort it out."

- Deepak Maniram

Surely there are more important health issues?

"He should rather hate the appalling conditions of state hospitals and either resign as it seems he is unable to sort this out or fire the incompetent hospital managers and other contributing to this state of affairs. P.S. I am a non-smoker." 

- Anonymous

"Does the government, more especially the Minister of Health, not have more urgent and important issues to deal with at this stage other than cigarettes? It is common knowledge that the health industry nationally, more especially the hospitals run by it, are in a desperate situation.

"Is the Minister of Health trying to get the heat of Esidemeni, etc. off his back and instead trying to distract the focus of this subject? He should rather come clean on the wastage, theft, etc. taking place in the hospitals and clinics and then sweat the small stuff!"

- Anonymous

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