Government set to appeal court ruling on infamous tobacco lockdown ban

Government set to appeal court ruling on infamous tobacco lockdown ban

- The government is set to appeal the Western Cape High Court ruling on the tobacco ban

- The court had found that the ban was unnecessary after BATSA won the battle to overturn the lockdown restriction

- Now, the state is evidently eyeing the return of the restrictions, but first it will need to convince the court of its case

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The government is set to appeal the Western Cape High Court judgment that the ban on tobacco trade during lockdown was unnecessary.

British American Tobacco SA had brought the case forward after tobacco products were banned.

This ban had only been lifted in August when South Africa was shifted to Level 2 of the lockdown.

The state will now be challenging the court's ruling on the tobacco ban. Image: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg
Source: Getty Images

The case had only been heard after the restrictions were eased and the judgment had been delivered in December.

The judgement had found that the regulation that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had used to effect the ban couldn't stand up to scrutiny, was unnecessary and didn't serve the intended objectives.

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The ruling had found the restrictions had limited tobacco consumers rights to human dignity due to denying citizens the choice of buying tobacco products, affecting their choice in consuming similar products.

TimesLIVE reported that Dlamini-Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa will be petitioning the Supreme Court of Appeal seeking to overturn the judgment.

The government says that the court had erred in that the case brought forward by the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association had been dismissed on the grounds that tobacco products were not essential.

13 Grounds for the appeal were listed including that the court 'was not consistent' in its approach to expert evidence'.

Earlier, reported that any results achieved by the lockdown ban on tobacco have been undone, according to a recent study.

Prices on the black market had climbed and the Fair Trade Tobacco Association, which is currently challenging the ban, has enjoyed a big slice of the pie.

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This is according to the Economics of Excisable Products Research Unit, which found that the price of tobacco had spiked by 250%.

Around 23 000 citizens took part in the survey, revealing that citizens were paying an average of R5.69 per cigarette or R114 per pack.

Despite the high cost of smoking, only 30% had attempted to kick the habit during lockdown due to rising prices. Only 14% said that they had attempted to quit due to the ban itself.

Professor Corné van Walbeek, director of REEP, says that the lockdown hasn't scared smokers off in the slightest:

"The intended lockdown benefit of people quitting smoking was mostly realised in lockdown Level 5. The percentage of respondents who quit subsequently has decreased to little more than a trickle."

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