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South Africa Gets Tough on Smoking

South Africa has fired up its anti-smoking campaign with two new laws signed by President Jacob Zuma. They dramatically increase fines, restrict the marketing of tobacco and also make it illegal for adults to smoke in a car when a child under 12 is present.

Peter Ucko, director of the National Council Against Smoking, says the laws affect everybody in South Africa, "not only smokers, but non-smokers as well, by protecting them from the hazards of second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke is not benign. It kills people."

A killer

He says tobacco smoking in South Africa kills 44,000 people a year.

"That's about three-times more than road accidents. And around the world, its 5.3 million people. In America, well over 400,000 people die because of tobacco smoke."

Ucko says he has no doubt that the increased penalties will encourage "high compliance."

As an example, he points to "our new penalty, up to 50,000 rand for the person in control of, say, a restaurant, for not making sure that no one smokes." That, says Ucko, will be an inducement to make sure that there is no smoking."