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College of Public Health Medicine statement on the prohibition of the sale of tobacco products under

"...The College of Public Health Medicine is therefore in favour of the continued prohibition on the sale of tobacco products under the Level 4 lockdown."

In summary the evidence in the public health literature confirms that:

  1. a) Tobacco products remain one of the biggest single risk factors for premature death and disability in South Africa;

  2. b) Smoking is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 and probably increases risk for COVID- 19 infection;

  3. c) There is currently no credible evidence in support of the speculative hypothesis that nicotine might be protective;

  4. d) Public Health practitioners would be concerned about the misrepresentation of science regarding any protective effects of nicotine given the Tobacco Industry’s proven history of trying to mislead the public on the health risks of tobacco products;

  5. e) The Social and Economic impacts of a ban on the sale of tobacco products will be discomforting for some smokers and result in short-term increases in spending per unit because of illegal black market availability, but are unlikely to increase poverty because of price elasticity of tobacco products; overall, there may be a reduction in total spending on tobacco;

  6. f) Rather, the opportunity to quit tobacco products should be strengthened under the lockdown by investing in services to assist smokers to quit. Such services should continue after lockdown regulations are relaxed.

To see full statement visit

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