AfriForum joins tobacco battle: Expert says proof doesn't support ban

AfriForum joins tobacco battle: Expert says proof doesn't support ban

- AfriForum has joined the flood of legal challenges against the government's tobacco ban

- This comes as experts claim there is no evidence that smoking aids the spread of Covid-19

- Meanwhile, SA is waiting for Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to give the final word on the matter

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AfriForum has now added its weight to the legal challenge against the government's tobacco ban. reported that Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa had attempted to fend off legal action brought forward by the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association and other groups by submitting a 4 000-page summary of their reasons for the prohibition.

However, the effort to have the ban overturned has gained more momentum with AfriForum confirming that Daniel Eloff, the group's legal consel, had penned a letter to Dlamini-Zuma.

Ernst Roets, the group's head of policy, has argued that the ban lacks rational and even scientific reasoning.

The group is now calling for the sale and purchase of tobacco to be allowed under Level 3 of the Covid-19 national lockdown.

“If the minister does not respond adequately to AfriForum’s letter by 3 June 2020, further legal action will be considered."

READ ALSO: Ramaphosa and Dlamini-Zuma going to court over cigarette ban

Meanwhile, 702 spoke to cardiologist Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos who revealed that very few smokers had been hospitalised after contracting Covid-19.

The government's ban, according to the expert, goes against new evidence that tobacco isn't a contributing factor to more serious cases.

"Nicotine, which is one of the compounds of tobacco cigarettes, may have some protective role to play in Covid-19. The research comes from clinical observations that very few cigarette smokers are hospitalised for Covid-19."

This new evidence supports the notion that smoking does not increase the transmission of the virus or worsen the symptoms.

In fact, Farsalinos has gone as far as to say that there is zero evidence to substantiate the ban that has seen citizens forced to criminal activity to get their 'fix'.

Dlamini-Zuma is expected to address SA on the matter on Thursday, giving the final word on one of the most controversial measures put into place to combat the virus.

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