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Health Beat #16 | Why the upcoming Tobacco Bill treats e-cigarettes like smokes

  • Ex-smoker Kurt Yeo thinks e-cigarettes have saved his life and are an effective way to quit traditional tobacco.
  • Lung doctors disagree and say while vapes are possibly less harmful than cigarettes, they’re not harmless.
  • Around one in four South African university students use e-cigarettes — public health experts say marketing specifically targets young people.
  • Anti-smoking activists hope South Africa’s Tobacco Bill, which says e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes should be regulated in the same way, will be passed by Parliament this year.
  • This Health Beat episode shows why some young people view vapes as luxury items and are attracted by advertising gimmicks.

In today’s newsletter, the Health Beat team explain why public health experts want vapes to be regulated like old-school smokes. Sign up.

Mia Malan is the founder and editor-in-chief of Bhekisisa. She has worked in newsrooms in Johannesburg, Nairobi and Washington, DC, winning more than 30 awards for her radio, print and television work.

Jessica Pitchford is Bhekisisa's TV and multimedia editor. She's been a journalist since the early nineties and has reported on some pivotal events in South Africa’s political history, such as the country’s transition to democracy and the work of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.

Mohale Moloi worked at Bhekisisa as a television producer and health journalist from July 2021 to March 2024.

Yolanda Mdzeke is a multimedia reporter at Bhekisisa.

Thatego Mashabela is a multimedia producer at Bhekisisa.