Presently, the penalty for selling tobacco products to teenagers below 16 is Rs 10,000; the fine may be hiked following the revision of the legislation.
The national assembly has already cleared the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Bill. This bill will now be discussed by the national council of provinces.
The Bill will seek to exercise control over the sale of tobacco products from vending machines. It will also limit the positioning of these machines, while completely prohibiting sale of tobacco products in health and educational institutions.
The bill also entails that all tobacco products will include pictorial warnings about the ill effects of tobacco.
Welcoming the move, director of Child line in KwaZulu-Natal, Naidoo said: "Children are still developing when they are below the age of 18 and smoking retards their development."
According to her, tobacco companies target teenagers because catching them young would translate into mammoth growth of their profits. The success of such endeavours like the new law would of course entirely depend upon the nature of enforcement. "If these laws are not implemented, then at the end of the day it is just a piece of paper that does not benefit anyone," she said.
Eagerly awaiting approval for the bill, Head of Communications at The Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa), Martha Molete, said, "The new Bill promotes the health and welfare of our people and it is fair, reasonable and workable."