With pending regulations to ban smoking in all public spaces, remove branding from cigarettes packs and control electronic cigarettes, the University of Cape Town (UCT) have conducted a study to find out if South Africans are ready for the ban of smoking in public areas. The study, conducted with more than 750 restaurants across South Africa, found that most restaurant owners and managers are supporting a complete ban on smoking in restaurants.
Megan Little, a researcher in the Economics of Tobacco Control Project (ETCP) and Professor Corné van Walbeek, director of the ETCP, embarked on a study to analyse the smoking policies of restaurants, whether and how these policies have changed over the past decade and restaurateurs’ attitudes to the proposed legislative changes.
According to the researchers, where some twenty years ago there was massive resistance from the hospitality and tobacco industries, today attitudes have changed to accommodate the healthier lifestyle demands of urban restaurant patrons.
Some key findings include:
- A noticeable number of restaurants are already voluntarily instituting a complete ban on smoking regardless of the current regulation’s more lenient stance on smoking.
- According to the study, 45% of restaurants have no smoking areas at all.
- In franchise establishments, 57% of franchisers do not allow their restaurants to have smoking areas at all.
- Meanwhile, 44% of restaurants have smoking areas outside. Just 11% of restaurants have smoking areas inside.
- Restaurants with inside smoking areas tend to be in small towns and rural provinces.
- There is a clear distinction in preference between South Africa’s rural and urban provinces.
Non-smoking restaurants, or restaurants with outside smoking areas, are prevalent in provinces with large urban populations.