- The legal battle surrounding the lockdown tobacco ban continued on Thursday
- This time, lawyers representing the state in the matter had an opportunity to defend the decision
- Previously, British American Tobacco SA lawyers claimed that the government simply couldn't justify the restriction
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The legal battle to see the enduring tobacco ban amid the Covid-19 national lockdown has continued on Thursday.
The government's lawyers argued that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's call to impose the controversial restriction was aimed at protecting human life.
In addition to this, the state claimed that the move was also aimed at preventing the public health care sector from becoming overwhelmed amid the pandemic.
The top priority of the state was to curb the spread of the virus, explained the lawyers, with the tobacco ban leaning on this ideal.
The government stands by its view that smokers are at a higher risk during the pandemic with the legal team claiming that higher ICU rates and a boosted need for ventilators were reported.
READ ALSO: Lift tobacco, liquor ban 'yesterday': DA wants Ramaphosa to act
The SABC reports that Advocate Karrisha Pillay had argued that smoking is a risk factor for more severe cases of Covid-19, with higher mortality rates in comparison to non-smokers.
Pillay was adamant that the ban had helped prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed during the crisis.
News24 had reported that the lone expert who had backed up these claims was not a medical doctor and had simply stated that not smoking during the pandemic would give smoker's lungs a 'fighting chance', according to BATSA's lawyers.
In other news, Briefly.co.za reported that the Democratic Alliance had called for the ban on tobacco and alcohol to be immediately lifted.
The opposition party had slammed the government for basing these restrictions on political agendas and not scientific evidence.
The DA had lamented the immense economic and social impact of the continued bans, pointing to countless jobs lost and businesses folding as a result of the laws.
The party had urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to take control and implement changes in a hurry before the damage became irreversible.
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