Aaron Motsoaledi, the Minister of Health of South Africa, said he faced a strong opposition from the Free Market Foundation (FMF) when he told about the idea to prohibit tobacco use in public spaces.
The FMF explained that Motsoaledi’s desire to ban smoking is a non-sence, because tobacco is a legal product allowed for sale and use. Smoking ban seems to violate personal freedoms and rights.
Earlier in autumn Motsoaledi was present at the launch of a 24-hour health television channel in Alexandra, Johannesburg. On this event during his speech he said:
“We are going to ban total smoking in public areas. At the moment we have put a corner in restaurants, a corner at the airport, ‘stupidly’ even a corner at the hospital. I’m saying ‘stupidly’ because we are outright stupid to accept that as human beings why should there be a corner for anybody to smoke in the hospital when we know the dangers. So there is going to be no corner anywhere in any public place, that is our space all of us”.
However, the FMF is worried that in South Africa is being increased number of attacks on personal freedoms and civil liberties, which may affect not only people’s lifestyle choices, but also business and overall country’s economy.
Though the Health Minister came with the idea of smoking ban almost a month ago, the FMF explained its opinion on this only now. They declared that smoking ban in all public spaces is the latest direct attack on freedom and consumer choice. Restaurants and bars should have smoking areas in order to satisfy all clients needs.
The FMF considers that when the government under the pretext of health protection prohibits tobacco use it actually removes basic rights for freedom of choices. Once those freedoms are lost they can hardly be regained.
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