South Africa: Shots Fired in Tobacco Wars Globally, Not Just in South Africa


The Pretoria High Court ruling on the Covid-19 tobacco ban was just one of several similar setbacks for big tobacco, and victories for the global anti-smoking campaign.

If you ever thought that the government and the tobacco industry would be smoking a peace pipe during lockdown Level 3, I impress on you to think again. President Cyril Ramaphosa during his Covid-19 Presidential Imbizo on 1 July 2020, in which he answered a few questions from the public, did not commit to when exactly the cigarette ban will be lifted. However, he indicated the possibility of the lifting of the ban at another level of lockdown.

It was overly ambitious for anyone to expect the president to capitulate after the victory in the Pretoria High Court that essentially considered the cigarette ban a justifiable action by the government to protect the citizens and residents of South Africa against the spread of Covid-19.

"Fita's argument that cigarettes ought to have been considered 'essential' because they are addictive has no merit," the court ruled. "In line with its constitutionally mandated duties to preserve life and provide adequate healthcare, the state was under a duty to adopt measures to ensure that the already fragile...

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