Ban on cigarette sales has led to 'dangerous state of affairs' - Fita

Ban on cigarette sales has led to 'dangerous state of affairs' - Fita

The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) says the ban on tobacco sales during the lockdown has clearly not stopped people from smoking.

Cigarettes in ashtray

Responding to an affidavit from Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Fita chair Sinenhlanhla Mnguni said the ban has led smokers to illegal products.

"The contention that smokers, who are admittedly addicted, will simply overcome the addiction and have an alternative available to assist in doing so is simply untenable. History has shown otherwise. In any event, it is not the second respondent's role nor prerogative to stop people from smoking."

Mnguni said the health hazards associated with the use of tobacco products cannot justify an outright prohibition.

READ: Govt asks for more time to fight tobacco ban in court

"This does not justify the dramatic and far-reaching shutting down of an entire industry together with the associated industries, the enormous and devastating irreparable harm to employment, the loss of greatly needed revenue and the interference with the freedom of the individuals of society who have a right to consume tobacco products which after all are illegal."

He believes the ban has turned many South Africans against the lockdown.

"The high-handed manner in which this ban is being meted out is most concerning and results in citizens losing respect for the process and wonderfully good intentions with which the lockdown process commenced."

Fita's challenge to the ban on tobacco products is set to be heard in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.

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