Smoking Can Cost You!

South African Smoking legislation has become increasingly stringent over the last decade affecting smokers and non-smokers alike. 

Smoking legislation was initially governed by the Tobacco Products Control Act 83 of 1993 and over the last decade this Act has seen many changes with the introduction of the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act 23 of 2007 and the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act 63 of 2008.

From these new pieces of legislation we are now seeing a dramatic increase in smoking fines as well as stricter regulations enforcing an anti-smoking culture.

The legislature’s main aims have been to limit the public places in which smoking is permitted, limiting exposure of harmful second-hand smoke to non-smokers and children, as well as regulating the manufacturing and marketing of tobacco products.

The Tobacco Products Control Act 83 of 1993 defines a tobacco product as:  

‘…any product manufactured from tobacco and intended for use by smoking, inhalation, chewing, sniffing and sucking.’

Heavy penalties and fines have been put into immediate effect for the contravention of smoking legislation in an effort to deter smokers from smoking in places that could put non-smokers and children in contact with harmful second-hand smoke.

The most noteworthy of these fines are as follows:  

  1. An individual smoker will pay R500.00 if found smoking a tobacco product in a public place 

A public place is defined as:  

“… any indoor, enclosed or partially enclosed area open to the public, including any workplace or public conveyance such as commercial or chartered aircraft, ship, boat, mini-bus or taxi.”  

Further, an individual smoker can expect to pay R500.00 if they are found smoking in a motor vehicle carrying a child under the age of 12 years, or in a private residence used for tutoring, schooling, or commercial childcare.  

  1. Restaurants, pub and bar owners can expect to pay up to a maximum of R50 000.00 if they fail to display the prescribed displays and signs prohibiting smoking in non-smoking areas.  

The same maximum fine of R50 000.00 is applicable if the required signs and warnings are absent in demarcated smoking areas.  

Further, if a restaurant, pub or bar owner allow persons to smoke in an area controlled by them which has been deemed to be a place that prohibits smoking by proclamation of the Minister of Health then they too will face a fine of R50 000.00.  

  1. Retailers will receive fines of a maximum of R100 000.00 if they fail to display the prescribed notice providing information about the tobacco product available at their shops. 

They are further required to place the tobacco product in such a place that it cannot be handled prior to being bought. Contravention of this requirement can result in a fine of a maximum of R100 000.00. 

Retailers will also face the same fine if they sell a tobacco product to a person under the age of 18 or if they employ a person under the age of 18 who will be required to sell or offer to sell any tobacco product on the business premises.  

  1. Advertisers will face fines of a maximum of R1 000 000.00 if they are found advertising or promoting, whether directly or indirectly, any tobacco products.  

  1. Manufacturers too will face a maximum fine of R1 000 000.00 if they do not package their products with the required notices and warnings.  

  1. Lastly, an employer of a workplace can be expected to pay a fine of up to R50 000.00 if they do not display the prescribed signs informing persons who enter an area controlled by such employer, that, that particular area is a smoking or non-smoking area, as the case may be.  

This list is not an exhaustive one and the fines imposed generally are high. Heavy penalties are imposed on individuals, manufacturers, retailers, marketers and suppliers alike. The legislation further goes on to affect both the workplace and hospitality industry with expensive consequences for minimal non-compliance.


Wriiten by: Meagan Gillett (Candidate Attorney)



  • Added 05 April 2011


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