South Africa’s History of Tobacco Control


1990 – South Africa adopts tobacco control policy in order to reduce tobacco consumption in the country.

1992 – Taxes constitute 30% of tobacco product prices.

1993 – Minister of Health, Dr. Nkosazana Zuma, adopts the Tobacco Products Control Act that requires adding warnings to cigarette packs and bans smoking in public transport.

1995 – Tobacco consumption in South Africa achieves its peaks in the early 1990s, and by 1995, it is estimated that 35% adults do smoke.

1997 – Government increases taxes on tobacco products by 50% of the retail prices.

1998 – Tobacco control efforts start to demostrate success in reducing smoking prevalence, which falls to 25% of adults.

1999 – A modification is made in the Tobacco Products Control Act. Now it prohibits tobacco ads and tobacco sale to kids.

1999 – Zuma receives Tobacco Free World Award by WHO. Soon she becomes  country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and is succeeded as health minister by Dr. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

2000 – Cigarette smoking is proved to cause almost 8% of deaths in the country.

2001 – Comes into action the law which prohibits smoking in public places. Smoking is allowed outside and in specially designated smoking areas.

2003 – Smoking rate is still falling and constitute about 23% of adults. Tobacco control experts say South Africa has highest rate of smoking among African countries.

2004 – Excise tax on tobacco products is increased by 52% of retail prices.

2005 – South Africa adopts the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). It gives governments a framework for adopting evidence-based tobacco control laws.

2005 – Only 18% of adults smoke in the country.

2008 – A modification in the Tobacco Products Control Act allows to increase the legal smoking age to 18 years. Also it restricts tobacco sponsorship and promotion.

2010 –  Are discussed regulations which would limit the display of tobacco products in stores. These regulations are to be signed into law.

2012 – Smoking rates in South Africa drop to 16%.

2012 – Are discussed regulations that would prohibit smoking in public places but have not been passed into law.

2013 – South Africa signs an international treaty to stop the illicit trade of cigarettes.

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