South Africa’s law on smoking is very clear. Its law on vaping and e-cigarettes? Less so. South Africa has become progressively more restrictive on when and where its citizens can light up, and its penalties for non-compliance are appropriately punitive. But when it comes to e-cigarettes, does any legislation currently exist on what we can and can’t do? This blog will break down what is currently known regarding the legal implications of vaping.
The popularity of e-cigarettes is growing… and growing
According to How Stuff Works, e-cigarettes were first developed in China and were introduced to the American market in 2007. Known as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) the device emits doses of vaporised nicotine that are inhaled. It's battery-operated and can also emit non-nicotine vaporised solutions. According to Medical News Today the manufacturers of the e-cigarette say they are an alternative for tobacco smokers who want to avoid inhaling smoke; indeed, it’s since been used as an alternative to smoking real cigarettes.
What do health professionals have to say about it?
The important thing to remember is this is a nascent product, meaning that it is in the early stages of its existence, and therefore the full scope of how it can affect users is still being investigated and assessed. As Dr Yussuf Saloojee, Executive Director of the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) says, ‘The NCAS isn't against e-cigarettes, but we need more evidence on the health effects before we can endorse them. They're still so new – they've only been around for a decade. Revisions are being made in this field almost on a daily basis.’
So where can you vape?
Here’s where the line becomes hazy, because it is not a cigarette and it does not contain tobacco. Mark van der Heever, spokesperson for the Western Cape Department of Health, says that as ENDS don't contain tobacco, they can't be read into the definition of ‘tobacco products’ in terms of the Tobacco Control Act, which provides SA with one of the world's tightest set of smoking laws. ‘But ENDS products resemble cigarettes, so they can be seen as challenging the denormalisation of tobacco use. For this reason, the Department is considering amendments to the legislation, to ensure e-cigarettes are regulated,’ says Van der Heever.
Speaking of which, here’s what SA’s government has planned…
Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, is keen to increase smoking legislation to incorporate e-cigarettes. According to an interview he gave on World No Tobacco Day last year, he believes that electronic cigs should be treated the say way as normal tobacco cigarettes:
‘We are looking at it very carefully. In the last framework [at the] Convention on Tobacco Control of the World Health Organization held in South Korea, the decision was that we need to package e-cigarettes as just any other type of cigarette. There is a trick here. Some e-cigarettes have nicotine, which means they are just as bad as cigarettes – other don’t have nicotine,’ he said. ‘Now that is a trick by the industry, saying that governments must only deal with those that have nicotine, which means I as a minister must now spend money to find out which ones do not have nicotine.’
In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently set out Deeming Rights (guidelines) that e-cigarettes should be classified as ‘tobacco products’.
The FDA also added that e-cigarettes stores that produce their own liquid for use in e-cigarettes are considered tobacco manufacturers, so anybody making their own juice is now a tobacco product manufacturer.
Among the other regulations set out by the FDA, this will have an impact on where people can use their e-cigarettes if they fall into the same strict tobacco laws.
South Africa has historically been a leader in introducing tobacco laws, and if Minister Motsoaledi turns to the FDA regulations, South Africa could follow suit in classifying e-cigarettes as tobacco products.
Until new laws are released and enforced, vaping in public spaces, such as malls and restaurants, is left to the discretion of the owners of such establishments. The same applies to companies, and how they choose to police their staff.
Topics: HSE, Smoking, Vaping, Legislation, HSE legislation
Several hundred rhino horns will go under the hammer on Wednesday, 23 August, in South Africa's first online auction of the controversial product, despite opposition from conservation groups who contend the sale will encourage poachers.
© naturedata – za.fotolia.com
The three-day selloff, organised by the owner of the world's largest rhino farm, will go ahead after a last-minute legal tussle pushed its start back two days.
"There are delays, no hiccups. It starts tomorrow (Wednesday) at two o'clock (1200 GMT)," said auction organiser John Hume, who owns 1,500 rhinos on his farm north of Johannesburg.
Hume has stockpiled six tonnes of rhino horns and wants to sell 264 pieces weighing a total of 500kg.
He says he harvests the horns by tranquilising the animals and dehorning them - a technique he says is humane and wards off poachers. Activists opposed to the sale fear it will fuel trafficking and undermine a 40-year global ban on the rhino trade. Animal protection charity Humane Society has opened an online petition urging the government not to issue permits to potential horn buyers.
"Any domestic trade in rhino horn undermines enforcement and demand reduction efforts to battle wildlife trafficking in the rest of Africa, China (and) Vietnam," the charity said.
The divisive sale comes after South Africa's top court lifted an eight-year moratorium on the domestic trade of rhino horns in April.
A last-minute legal challenge delayed the auction for two days, but Hume was given a permit on Monday and bidding is set to begin.
Environment Minister Edna Molewa said the government was taking steps "to ensure that we have closed any possible loopholes that could pave the way for a circumvention of (international) regulations".
Speaking on Monday, the minister said an audit of all existing rhino horn stockpiles was underway to "prevent the smuggling of illegally-obtained horns out of the country".
Private rhino owners say so-called "blood horns" will not enter the market, as each horn is micro-chipped and their origins can be DNA-traced.
Breeders believe open trade is the only way to stop poachers from slaughtering the endangered animals. They argue that the auction helps to promote "sustainable" use of resources and raise funds for protecting and conserving the rhino.
South Africa is home to around 20,000 rhinos, or about 80% of the worldwide population, but in recent years the country has suffered record slaughter by poachers.
Rhino horns are highly prized in Asia, where they are estimated to fetch up to $60,000 (€50,000) a kilo on the black market, exceeding the price of gold or cocaine.
They consist mainly of keratin, the same component as in human nails, and are sold in powdered form as a supposed cure for cancer and other diseases - as well as a purported aphrodisiac - in Vietnam and China.
Van's Auctioneers, who will conduct the auction, have not set an opening price for bids, but bidders need to pay R100,000 ($7,570) to register.
Pelham Jones, chairman of the Private Rhino Owners Association, told AFP that potential buyers would be people of Asian descent who live in South Africa and "could potentially be consumers of the product".
Commodity speculators based anywhere in the world will also be able to buy "but may not export the horns," he added.
Any registered buyer will be able to bid, but may not collect the horns until they obtain permits.
There are many types of legal issues that might require a lawyer's help. You may consider hiring a lawyer if you have suffered an injury, been wrongfully terminated at work, are thinking about starting a business, or have been accused of committing a crime. Lawyers can help with legal problems after they come up -- after a car accident, for example -- but in other instances, consulting a lawyer before a legal issue arises can help you anticipate and prevent serious legal problems.
Some common situations where assistance from a lawyer may be necessary include:
Making a will as part of your estate plan ensures what you leave behind will be taken care of according to your wishes, including the care of your children.
When you make an online will, you can appoint someone to settle your affairs. The person you appoint will ensure that your beneficiaries receive their inheritance.
You can use it to:
If you are looking to start or write a will, here are a few steps you can take to quickly and easily accomplish this:
Who should consider an online will?The short answer to this is that everyone should have one, even if you are tight on money.
Whether you decide to Creating a living will or a last will and testament, they are an excellent way to ensure that your assets are properly distributed after you pass, especially if you have children, are a homeowner, or family business owner.
You can revoke your online will any time before death by making a new one that advises that all prior wills are no longer valid.
To revoke your current will without having to make an entirely new one, you simply have to purposefully deface it or completely destroy it.
However, if this is done accidentally it will not be revoked.
What happens if you make a new will (which revokes all prior ones) and then decide that you like your initial one better?
You need to make an entirely new last will that replaces the new one and mimics the old one. The old last will is invalid and cannot be revived after it has been revoked.
It should be noted that a codicil must be signed and witnessed just like your will, so it may be easier to make an entirely new will.
What should I do with my will after I create & sign it?Be sure to tell your spouse, children and other heirs, and executor where they can find the will.
Several copies of the unsigned will should be made and stored in a safe place. Be sure that the extra, spare copies are not signed. Otherwise, it could create confusion as to which one is the authoritative, legally binding document.
You should also be sure not to make changes to your will after it has been witnessed and signed. Making changes like removing a person’s name or adding clauses to your will after it has been signed risks invalidating the document.
Should you have a lawyer review the online will you create?In simple situations with no tax issues a person can easily learn how to make a will online and be better off than having no will at all.
However a simple situation like this is often rare and you more likely are dealing with spouses from second marriages, stepchildren, family businesses, property in multiple states, and other circumstances that make enlisting a lawyer’s help to review your document quite sensible.
This will usually help prevent difficulties down the road and ensure that your online will is legally binding and protects the ones you care for.