The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) will appear in the Pretoria High Court today [June 9] to oppose the government’s decision to ban the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products during the national lockdown.
According to FITA, the ban on tobacco products is “invalid and unconstitutional”.
The Pretoria High Court is the same court that deemed the government’s restrictions and regulations under Levels 4 and 3 of lockdown as unconstitutional.
The sale of tobacco products has been banned in South Africa since March 26, and the illicit cigarette trade has been booming since then. Some smokers report paying as much as R150 for a pack of 20 cigarettes or more.
As reported by EWN, there are several thousand South Africans who oppose the ban. The general consensus is that smokers feel the government is dictating their personal freedom to smoke.
FITA argues that the decision to ban tobacco products is having an extremely detrimental effect on smokers, and will have experts to testify this. FITA also plans to bring up the economic impact the ban on tobacco has had on the country.
According to Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the tobacco ban was instated as a measure to preserve as many lives as possible. She maintains that the Cabinet has a duty to ensure this, and the tobacco ban forms part of this mandate. The State will have their own experts to prove why smokers should not be smoking during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also read: Study shows smoking regulations are failing