Africa News

South Africa: Tobacco companies sue government over smoking ban

Tobacco companies in South Africa are determined to move forward with litigation against the government for its banning of tobacco products during the coronavirus lockdown.

The tobacco ban was imposed under the 2002 Disaster Management Act, the state justifying it on health grounds based on advice from its own medical experts and the World Health Organization (WHO).

South Africa’s ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco products was lifted on Monday, as part of the easing of measures imposed to combat spread of COVID-19 in the country.

The Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA), an organisation representing 80 percent of cigarette manufacturers in South Africa, said there is no rational connection between the cigarette ban and the aim of the state of disaster declaration which is to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa have supported the ban.

Despite one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, South Africa has been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, with over 595,000 cases and a death toll believed to be much higher than the official figure of 12,000.

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