A Change.org petition, appealing the South African Government and President Ramaphosa to lift the ban on the sale of cigarettes, has been signed by over 380 000 people.
The petition, started by Bev Maclean, was launched in response to Wednesday’s announcement that the ban on cigarette sales will continue during the eased level 4 lockdown regulations. It states that it deems a one day notice of a ban on the sale of cigarettes for this extended lockdown period to be unfair.
Maclean further says that nicotine withdrawals, on top of the stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic and its effects, can result in negative behaviours. It can deteriorate the mental health of smokers and cause them to act out in an aggravating manner.
It concludes saying that through lifting the ban it would allow for more employment, generate revenue for the economy and improve the psychological wellbeing of people who are already dealing with the effects of the nationwide lockdown.
While some praised Minister Dlamini-Zuma for what is perceived to be a campaign against Johan Rupert, many allegations about her 2017 relationship with Adriano Mazzotti, who had previously been accused of illegally selling tobacco, and a personal agenda have resurfaced too.
Moneyweb’s Rene Vollgraaff writes, “South Africa’s ban on tobacco gives cabinet minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma an opportunity to complete a crusade she began more than two decades ago: to stop people smoking.”
The World Health Organisation has reportedly advised that smoking probably increases the risk of complications from Covid-19, French researchers are testing whether nicotine could be used to treat the illness.
The Federation of International Trade Associations (FITA) announced on Thursday that it is going to court to challenge the ban on the sale of cigarettes, however, it is still unclear whether the South African government will make a statement about the way forward.