Victory against the tobacco industry in South Africa during the COVID – 19 pandemic: A source of ins

Statement of Leonce SESSOU, Executive Secretary, African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA) "The fact that a substance is addictive does not render it essential." This is a unanimous conclusion by Judges Mlambo, Molefe and Basson on Friday 26 June 2020 while passing their judgment on the case between Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association’s (FITA) and the Government of South Africa regarding the ban on sale of cigarettes, e- cigarettes and other tobacco products ban during the COVID-19 lockdown. The decision of the North Gauteng High Court to dismiss the case is in line with efforts of the tobacco control community to ensure the health and wellbeing of the population. The WHO and several ot

Bad news for smokers: High court says cigarette ban was rational

Fita attempted to have the order declaring the ban on sales changed. The North Gauteng High Court on Friday dismissed the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association’s (Fita) urgent challenge to the controversial ban on cigarette and tobacco product sales during the Covid-19 pandemic, saying the ban did not have to be “the best nor the most suitable” approach. “The discretion to choose suitable means is that of the repository of public power,” the court said. Last month, Fita approached the court with an urgent two-part application. The association achieved partial success with the first part of the application – in which it wanted the minutes from the meetings at which the National Coronavir

A win for public health as court finds that the temporary ban on sale of tobacco is rational

Statement of Savera Kalideen (NCAS Executive Director) Johannesburg, S.A – The high court of South Africa Gauteng division ruled on Friday that the temporary ban on the sale of tobacco and vaping products during the COVID-19 pandemic is rational. It will save lives and ease the burden on our overstretched health system. The National Council Against Smoking welcomes the judgement as a win for public health. The ruling reaffirms the duty of government to protect life and the health services. Science shows that smoking worsens clinical outcomes for those infected with the virus. A review by the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that smoking is associated with increased severity of di

How to stub out the habit

There is help for many people who want to quit smoking Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional A­airs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is hellbent on keeping the ban on the sale of cigarettes during level three of lockdown as Mzansi battles the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of her motivation is that many South Africans will have quit by the time the pandemic subsides. But is it indeed better to quit the habit? Last Sunday was World No Tobacco Day. The National Council Against Smoking says the theme this year was “Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing nicotine and tobacco addiction in youth”. “This is especially relevant to South Africa, which has a youth population that uses

Young people are key to a nicotine-free future: five steps to stop them smoking

Tobacco use kills more than 8 million people each year and most adult smokers start smoking before the age of 20 This implies that if one can get through adolescence without smoking, the likelihood of being a smoker in adulthood is greatly reduced. Preventing young people from becoming addicted to tobacco and related products is therefore key to a smoke-free future. With the advent of novel tobacco products and the tobacco industry falsely marketing them as less harmful than their combustible counterparts, the adage “prevention is better than cure” has never been more important for governments to heed if we are to achieve a smoke-free future. Here are five things that governments need to do

Support is available to help you stop smoking

Statement of Sharon Nyatsanza (NCAS Project & Communications Manager) The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives. For many it is an unexpected opportunity to become healthier, by not smoking. The reasons for smoking vary, many adults smoke because of habit or routine, some because they are addicted and others smoke to relax. When you smoke nicotine reaches the brain in 10 seconds providing a short-lived high, this feeling fades quickly and you will have to smoke more to provide your body with more nicotine. This cycle is how most smokers become addicted to nicotine, and is also why it becomes uncomfortable for smokers when the supply of nicotine decreases. Many adults in South Africa are aw

| Here's how the state justified the tobacco ban in court. Will it be enough?

Can the government justify its decision to ban the sale of tobacco products based on what the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) says are a few inconclusive studies, especially when people have not stopped smoking and its good intentions are mostly proving to have created a breeding ground for the black market? This is the question the Pretoria High Court judges were left to apply their minds to after FITA tore into the state's argument that banning sales will reduce smoking in the country - and has, in fact, already done so. The association, which said it represents all local tobacco manufacturers in SA, challenged the ban of tobacco sales because it believes the Minister of

Cigarette ban is both legal and supported by science, State argues in court

The government has maintained in court that Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, acted legally and rationally in banning the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products under the nationwide lockdown, saying the Disaster Management Act affords the minister broad powers to safeguard the health of SA citizens. The case, brought by the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association, was argued before three judges in the Pretoria High Court on Wednesday morning. FITA, whose members include cigarette makers Carnilinx and Gold Leaf Tobacco, is challenging the cigarette ban for a number of reasons, saying the minister overstepped her authority in declaring t

Landmark legal victory for public health and a major setback for the tobacco industry

Today we are celebrating a major victory for public health and tobacco control. On June 9, the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body reported on the dispute brought by Honduras and the Dominican Republic against Australia: “Australia — Tobacco Plain Packaging. This decision puts an end to the disputes which began in 2012 and saw Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia and Ukraine (Ukraine later decided to withdraw its complaint in June 2015)[1] bring legal complaints regarding Australia’s plain packaging law[2]. "This decision represents a landmark victory for global health and a major setback for the tobacco industry. Plain packaging is consistent with international trad

Lifting the veil: A philosophical investigation of the tobacco ban

Opposition to the tobacco ban stems from two distinct camps. The first is a libertarian opposition I call the ‘My Lungs, My Choice Movement’, and the second, the ‘Black Market Brigade’, whose concerns rest on corruption and criminality in the black market. As I outline below, a moral approach to public policy in South Africa should give short shrift to both sets of complaints. With the arrival of South Africa’s Patient Zero, the coronavirus set the government down a path of value judgments, culminating in a National State of Disaster. This, in turn, has ushered in some of the most intrusive policies witnessed in democratic South Africa. Lives from across all divides have been severely disrup

Laws to regulate e-cigarettes and heated tobacco devices are long overdue

Throughout South Africa, e-cigarettes are being sold in malls and, in violation of the law, promoted to the youth and those who have never smoked. The marketing of these products is deliberately designed to target young people. Mounting evidence shows that tobacco use is associated with worse Covid-19 outcomes. People who use tobacco products are more likely to require mechanical ventilators and ICU treatment. They are also more likely to die than a coronavirus patient who does not smoke. Unfettered access to tobacco products would have an impact on the number of severe Covid-19 cases. We have witnessed the strain this virus has placed on more developed healthcare systems in countries like t

Dr Saloojee says lung cancer treatment costs the SA economy R33 billion, three times what is receive

Dr Saloojee says lung cancer treatment costs the SA economy R33 billion, three times what is received in excise taxes for cigarettes. The continued ban on cigarette sales in South Africa during Covid-19 lockdown has led desperate smokers paying exorbitant amounts for illicit cigarettes, while others have used the time to quit the habit. Refilwe Moloto speaks to Dr Yussuf Saloojee, former executive director at the National Council Against Smoking. He says scientific research including papers published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the World Health organisation shows clearly a link between contracting more severe Covid-19 symptoms and smoking. Smokers are twice as likely to have m

Support a loved one trying to quit smoking

A life coach offers advice in terms of how you can support a loved on who is trying to quit smoking. POLOKWANE – One of the most-spoken about topics relating to the lockdown, is the prohibition on buying cigarettes. Some people have managed to buy illegal smokes at ridiculous prices, while others decided to stop smoking all-together. Review spoke to life coach, Marie-Lee du Plooy about how to handle a loved one who has decided to stop smoking. “Suddenly, nothing is normal and habits, due to the availability of certain goods, have to change. As we all thought that lockdown would only be three weeks, we stocked up for three weeks and then lockdown was extended and our cigarettes and liquor dep

Smoking ban a sign of a ‘responsible government’, says Dlamini-Zuma

The overarching rationale for prohibiting the sale of tobacco products was to protect human life and health, and to reduce the potential strain on the health-care system. This is the submission made by Co-operative Governance & Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in the application by Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita), which wants the court to set aside the regulation prohibiting the sale of tobacco products during lockdown. Dlamini-Zuma, in an answering affidavit filed to the high court in Pretoria dated June 3, said Fita has not made out its case, and wanted the application dismissed with costs. Dlamini-Zuma said that from studies undertaken so far, the evid

SANCA warns against smoking of other substances

As smokers are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, more and more are experimenting with substances other than cigarettes or tobacco. LIMPOPO – Even though smokers are battling as the ban on the sale of tobacco products remains in lockdown level three, the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (SANCA) has warned against smoking other substances. According to SANCA in Limpopo, they have come across cases of smokers trying to replace tobacco and nicotine with tea leaves, grass or even paper, and warns that this might be a sign of addiction. Provincial Manager, Hezekiel Boloka says the ban is bound to cause an increase in the number of people attempting to smoke househol

Govt says lost tax revenue from smoking ban 'outweighed' by harm cigarettes cause

As the date nears for the start of the first court case challenging the ban on the sale of cigarettes during lockdown, the state has argued that economic costs of lost tax are "outweighed by the harms of allowing continued sales," given the health risks smoking poses during the coronavirus pandemic. The sale of cigarettes was banned at the start of the nationwide lockdown in late March. This ban was extended under Level 4, and again under Level 3 of the lockdown. It still remains in place. In defending the ban, the government has argued that emerging research shows smoking leads to more severe cases of Covid-19, and the prohibition is necessary to reduce strain on SA's health system. In May,