TISA Disappointed By the Namibian Tobacco Act

The Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (TISA) has expressed disappointment at the enactment of the Namibian Tobacco Products’ Control Act, 2010 and its regulations without the due consideration of industry proposals.

TISA’s chairperson Francois van der Merwe said in a statement that TISA and its members have always aocated balanced and enforceable regulations.

TISA is the industry body for the tobacco industry in South Africa, and its mandate and reach extends into the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

It represents tobacco growers, leaf merchants, leaf processors, manufacturers as well as importers and exporters of tobacco products in South Africa.

“We acknowledge the rights of consumers and the general public to be informed of the risks associated with the usage of tobacco products. However, we believe that the Act and regulations go beyond what is necessary to educate the public about the risks of tobacco, instead introducing extreme measures which seek to ostracize smokers by preventing them from smoking indoors,” Van der Merwe said.

He said these public smoking restrictions will mostly impact small businesses in the informal sector, as well as those businesses in the hospitality and tourism sectors which have already made significant investments to accommodate smokers.

Van der Merwe said these are businesses which are at the forefront of driving economic growth and creating employment opportunities in Namibia.

The regulations also limit the intellectual property and trademark rights of manufacturers, who are selling a legal product.

TISA’s comments come after the government introduced a ban on smoking in public places, effective from 1 July this year. According to the Tobacco Products’ Control Act, the finances of the Tobacco Products’ Control Fund will consist of money appropriated by Parliament for the purposes of the Fund, as well as donations or contributions made to the Fund for the purposes of the achievement of its objectives.

Source : The Namibian