News24

Cigarette advertising opposed

2009-12-03 13:54

Johannesburg - The SA Medical Association (Sama) on Thursday said it was "totally" opposed to cigarettes advertised in whatever shape or form, given their contribution to the burden of diseases.

"Cigarette advertising, even if subliminal, is especially reprehensible when targeting our impressionable youth."

"We therefore share the concerns of the National Council Against Smoking regarding the legal challenge being launched by a Tobacco-manufacturing group against the law currently strictly banning tobacco advertising," said Sama chairperson Dr Norman Mabasa in a statement.

British American Tobacco SA (Batsa) has filed an application in the North Gauteng High Court to challenge anti-smoking legislation, the National Council Against Smoking said on Wednesday.

One-to-one communication

It was asking the court to interpret the legislation so as to allow one-to-one communication between the tobacco trade and those smokers.

Alternatively, Batsa wanted the ban on one-to-one communication declared unconstitutional as a violation of the right to freedom of expression.

Mabasa said in the long-term, smoking causes or negatively influences many diseases like cancer, heart attacks, coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease and strokes.

It can also play a role in atherosclerosis, abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral artery disease, Ischaemic heart disease, angina, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, diabetes, cataracts, impotence, gangrene and reduced fertility.

"Smoking reduces a person’s life expectancy from anything from seven years to 30 years. Generally smokers are less healthy and less physically fit than non-smokers."

Mabasa said they were hoping the courts, like their international counterparts, would issue a ruling that protects the broader public interest, especially in view of the fact that the right to health is enshrined in the Constitution.

SAPA