Cigarette sales remain banned as the High Court ruled in favor of the government on June 26. For smokers, a lot rode on the case presented by the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA). Across social media smokers fume with rage. In frustration, some of them blame FITA for a poorly presented case. Meanwhile, others slam the Judges and suspect corruption. However, not everyone against the ban on smoking actually smokes. Let’s take a look at their issues and concerns.
Cigarette ban worries non-smokers as well as nicotine addicts
Naturally, plenty of people exist who support the ban. But on social media, a surprising number of non-smokers also voice their concerns. Their reasons range from concerns about a democratic country denying citizens the right of choice, through to worries about employment, lost SARS revenue, and politicking. While the Honorable Dlamini-Zuma, the most outspoken person against tobacco in the NCCC, annoyed a lot of white people in the country, many people of all races express their anger or puzzlement at the continued ban.
With hope waning and now dependent on the delayed BATSA case, fears of unemployment present a real threat to thousands of people employed in the industry. Rumors, possibly unrealistic, involve the hopeful one that the now-delayed BATSA case could allow the NCCC to lift the cigarette ban before then. Unfortunately, the entire issue became laden with politics so possibly nobody wants to be viewed as being forced to lift the ban.
What non-smokers say who oppose the ban on cigarettes
Adding their voice to the smokers, non-smokers also speak out on social media. One person noted, “I don’t even smoke but this is BS.” Another person wrote, “I don’t even smoke but this is bullsh*t at its peak.” Here’s a few other examples taken from Twitter:
- “I don’t smoke, but almost everyone in my circle who smokes has cigarettes… Serious smoker will always make a plan regardless the cost… Who is this ban for exactly?”
- “I don’t smoke. But annoys me to see “spaza” shops killing the smokers with their prices. NDZ must concentrate on getting back the ppls money from Guptas rather.”
- “Even though I don’t smoke, I find the #CigaretteBan irrational.”
- “I don’t even smoke. I’m confused by this court case, in principle. How did we come to arguing whether a person can smoke or not? Where to from here? #CigaretteBan.”
- “I don’t smoke but this cigarette ban ain’t ryt. If we cud get our alcohol back than let the smokers puff and pass in peace.”
Economy and employment concerns from non-smokers
While some people say the smokers just cite SARS and the economy to justify their habit, non-smokers also mention that. One person tweeted, “I don’t smoke but I think #CigaretteBan is a waste of time coz people are smoking, it’s business as usual. The only one who is losing here is SARS. Ramaphosa should lift the ban.”
One person worries about the virus spreading because of the ban. They noted, “Let me start by saying, I don’t smoke cigarettes. As much as gov’t would like to intellectualise their decision, they’ve aided the spread of the virus. People are buying half smoked ones. God help us if a nation is forced into withdrawal symptoms.”
If you do smoke, are you surprised that many nonsmokers also feel the ban should be lifted? Sound off in the comments below.
Remember to check back with SANs Newsfeed often for more news about Africa.