South Africa: Smoke and Mirrors? Public Perceptions On Banning the Sale of Cigarettes

analysis

There has been a shift in opinion towards lifting the ban on cigarettes. This is revealed in new findings from the UJ/HSRC Covid-19 Democracy Survey.

Narnia Bohler-Muller, Stephen Rule, Martin Bekker and Ben Roberts

Thus far, the South African courts have sided with the government when it comes to banning the sale of cigarettes. But there is cynicism about the advantages of its stance, and the matter is about to be reviewed.

Lockdown regulations and the ban on tobacco products

Under Section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, currently Dr Nkosozana Dlamini Zuma, is empowered to make regulations concerning the movement of persons and goods. Under lockdown amendments published on 25 March 2020, only businesses involved in the provision of essential goods and services were permitted to operate during the first phase of the lockdown, Level 5. Tobacco products, including cigarettes, were not regarded as "essential", so banned.

On 25 April 2020, the minister briefed the media regarding the implementation of the Risk Based Model for Economic Activity, and advised South Africans to submit inputs for consideration. A "draft framework for consultation", made available at the end of April,...

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