FITA 'not excited' by reports that smoking ban might be lifted

FITA 'not excited' by reports that smoking ban might be lifted

The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) says it's keenly awaiting a possible announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the easing of the lockdown regulations.

cigarette, smoking, tobacco use

This comes amid reports that the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and Cabinet have been advised to lift the ban on the sale of cigarettes and alcohol and move the country to Level 2 of the lockdown.

President Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation this week amid a slight easing of the COVID-19 pandemic.

FITA chairperson, Sinenhlanhla Mnguni says they have not been informed of any move to lift the ban on the sale of tobacco products.

READ: Ramaphosa: Cigarette 'ban will be lifted'

He says FITA will decide on the next course of action once the president has made an announcement.

"We are certainly not excited by these reports as we have previously been in this situation. 

"We will await an announcement by the President when it does come in relation to what has been reported and we will thereafter, depending on the announcement, make a decision as to how we are going to approach the court application."

FITA has approached the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein to appeal a High Court decision to dismiss its challenge against government's cigarette ban.

In its application, FITA emphasised the booming illicit trade.

"Smokers continue to source the ongoing supply of cigarettes and tobacco products. 

"Once it is accepted (as it must be) that the ban cannot be shown to have the effect of stopping smoking, there cannot be any possible basis for the ban," Mnguni argued in an affidavit filed on Tuesday.

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