Writing Workshop on Smoking in South Africa

Investigator: George Rutherford, MD
Sponsor: National Foundation for the CDC and Prevention

Location(s): South Africa


South Africa became one of the first countries in the world to ban smoking in public places in 2000 when it introduced its Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act. It prohibited smoking in restaurants, pubs, shopping centres and offices where there was no separate, enclosed smoking room.

Prohibitions were tightened further in 2009 when the government banned smoking in partially enclosed public places such as covered patios, verandas, balconies, walkways and parking areas, as well as smoking in cars where there were children under the age of 12 present. Children under the age of 18 were also prohibited from entering designated smoking areas and purchasing cigarettes.

Between 1993 and 2009, total taxes on cigarettes (including excise and sales taxes) in South Africa increased from 32% of retail price to 52%. During the same period, cigarette sales declined 30%, government revenue from tobacco taxes increased 800%, and smoking prevalence among adults decreased 25%.

WHO and CDC have developed a Global Tobacco Surveillance System, which uses the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) as its data collection mechanism. The GYTS is a school-based survey designed to enhance the capacity of countries to monitor tobacco use among youth and to guide the implementation and evaluation of tobacco prevention and control programmes. The GYTS uses a standard methodology for constructing the sampling frame, selecting schools and classes, preparing questionnaires, following consistent field procedures, and using consistent data management procedures for data processing and analysis. The information generated from the GYTS can be used to stimulate the development of tobacco control programmes and can serve as a means to assess progress in meeting programme goals.