Smokers risk severe form of COVID-19, court hears

Smokers risk severe form of COVID-19, court hears

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has told the Western Cape High Court that the smoking of tobacco products increases the risk of contracting a severe form of COVID-19.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at NCC cigarettes

Her legal team continued with their arguments on Thursday.

They are challenging an application by British American Tobacco South Africa and others who want the court to force the government to lift the ban on tobacco sales.

Advocate Karrisha Pillay, for the minister, said the decision to continue the ban under Level 3 of the lockdown is supported by medical research.

"The minister tells us that the preponderance of evidence from studies that have been undertaken so far is that the use of tobacco products may not increase the risk of transmission of COVID, but that it does increase the risk of the developing a more severe form of the disease.

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"She says then the consequence of this is that it will increase the strain on the health system because it increases the number of persons who will need hospitalisation and access to resources such as ICU beds and ventilators.”

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