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The government now appealing to make the cigarette ban constitutional

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The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) on Tuesday expressed its concern over the possibility of a renewed tobacco ban after the government applied to appeal against an earlier court ruling in this regard.

The Cape Town High Court ruled at the beginning of last month that isolation regulation 45, which prohibits tobacco products’ sale, was unnecessary and unconstitutional. British American Tobacco South Africa (Batsa) has joined the case with nine other applicants against Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa and the National Covid-19 Command Board.

The government is now applying for leave to appeal in the appeal court in Bloemfontein against the Supreme Court’s ruling. Dlamini-Zuma and Ramaphosa argue in their court documents that the Supreme Court was inconsistent in its approach to experts’ testimony. It is also argued that the right infringed is the right to freedom of trade and industry and not the right to dignity, privacy, and physical and psychological integrity.

According to Dlamini-Zuma, the aim of the ban on the sale of tobacco products during Level 3 was to reduce the incidence of smoking and thus reduce the risks that Covid-19 poses to smokers and people exposed to smoking. It also aimed to make scarce healthcare resources available, protect lives and alleviate the potential pressure on the healthcare system.

Fita believes the government’s decision to appeal against the Supreme Court ruling is “regrettable” given the irreparable damage that the ban on the tobacco industry has had.

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