- BATSA has asked Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma why she banned tobacco but not the sale of cooldrinks
- The tobacco giant pointed out that soft drinks also pose health risks in the legal battle over the ban
- The group is also adamant that the ban has encouraged sharing due to the high prices charged by black market dealers
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Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has been asked why she chose to ban tobacco products and not cold drinks amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
British American Tobacco SA has questioned the reasoning behind the ban in the High Court as it continues the legal battle to see the prohibition lifted.
The tobacco giant feels that the stance taken by the government was too harsh, arguing that campaigns could have raised awareness instead of resorting to economically devastating restrictions.
Dlamini-Zuma's argument that cigarettes pose a risk when shared could be used in a hypothetical comparison to cold drinks, reports TimesLIVE:
“That is, after all, why the government has implemented widespread education and awareness campaigns to educate the public to take measures to reduce the spread of the virus. For example, the government has not prohibited the sale of cold drinks merely because they are capable of being shared from the same bottle or can; it has rather educated consumers not to share bottles or cans.”
READ ALSO: Lift tobacco, liquor ban 'yesterday': DA wants Ramaphosa to act
News24 reports that BATSA also pointed out that the steep prices charged by the black market would only further encourage sharing:
“However, she adopts the position that risky behaviour in the form of cigarette-sharing would increase if the prohibition were to be lifted. The correct position is exactly [the] reverse: the prohibition added to the incidence of risky behaviour because it encourages the growth of [the] illicit market for cigarettes at exorbitant prices.”
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that the Democratic Alliance had called for the immediate lifting of both the tobacco and alcohol restrictions.
The opposition party is adamant that the government did not use scientific evidence to back up these majorly controversial prohibitions.
This comes as the industry reels from the impact of being barred from doing business since March when the lockdown was originally put into effect.
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