Avid smokers and tobacco industry leaders across the country are tired of the ban on cigarettes. Now, a group of invested parties are coming together to formally protest the ban this June.
A new Facebook group called “Protest March Against The Tobacco Ban” is calling those against the government’s prohibition of tobacco products to join the protest that will take place across the country.
According to the founder, Duncan Napier, the risk is far higher for people to be able to meet in churches than it is for people who smoke and because of this and other reasons, the continued ban doesn’t make sense. He is calling the nation to join his peaceful march but still remain aware of the virus.
“From level 3 people are allowed to gather inside churches, my logic tells me the contagion risk is far higher inside an enclosed building. South Africa this is a peaceful march, we must not cluster in groups but line up at least 1.2 meters apart in single file formation. We must mask up, wear long sleeve shirts and pants,” he said.
The protest was originally planned for May, but the date has since shifted to June 2.
“We have postponed the march to lift the ban against tobacco products to June 2, 2020, nationwide at 12 noon. The march will be held in almost every province in South Africa,” says the group’s statement.
The group accredited the postponement to arrangements for support from political parties and the process of reaching out to the media.
Specific areas where the protest will take place in each province will be announced at a later stage on the groups event page.
Napier says the ban on cigarettes has no proper reason for going ahead. He believes it is doing more harm than good and that it needs to be done away with as soon as possible.
“Anybody if they haven’t realised before, can now see the banning of tobacco and the reasons for banning are a sham,” says Napier.
He says the ban is a failed effort that should be stopped before it does more harm.
“The ban on cigarette sales is failing in what it set out to do – rather than stopping smokers from smoking, it could be setting up an illicit market for survival well beyond the coronavirus outbreak. A new study has found more people are sharing cigarettes as the price has skyrocketed. People also travel far and wide to purchase cigarettes which also continues to expose the public to the virus,” he adds.
According to Napier, the revolt against the ban will continue until it is lifted.
“We will not back down until the ban has been lifted. We asked, begged and pleaded and it has fallen on deaf ears. Now we will stand up for our rights,” Napier concludes.