The High Court in Pretoria has ruled to dismiss with costs an application by the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) to have the government’s ban on the sale of tobacco products overturned.
FITA had argued that cigarettes should be viewed as essential on the basis that tobacco is addictive, among other things. However, the court was not convinced.
The application by FITA was dismissed with costs, including the costs of counsel.
The judgment read that: “FITA’s argument that cigarettes ought to have been considered ‘essential’ because they are addictive has no merit. The fact that a substance is addictive does not render it essential. We therefore find no basis on which to interpret the level five regulations as permitting the sale of tobacco products.”
It continued saying that it was convinced by the government’s submission that FITA’s argument was “misconceived” as it “ignores the context under which the regulations were promulgated”, namely an “unprecedented disaster” that required “swift and effective action from the State”.
On Friday morning, the court date for a separate legal battle between government and British American Tobacco SA was moved to August.