Cigarette Ban remains in place in South Africa. FITA’s legal bid to overturn the ban failed brings hard news for smokers. And, bad news for taxpayers, many people think. It also doesn’t look good for BATSA with their court hearing date moved to August. Fed up smokers now plan a nationwide protest march for July 8th.
Cigarette ban stays – smokers plan protest
Cigarette sales remain banned in South Africa. The judgment handed down on 26th June surely raised a lot of ire across social media. Many people even slammed FITA for their court case, believing they tried an unwinnable approach by suggesting an addiction makes the product an “essential.” According to Eye Witness News, FITA argued that cigarettes are “addictive and therefore essential”. The judge ruled that the argument “has no merit”.
Smokers sound furious. @LayaP tweeted “South Africa has become the joke of the world.” @Naledi M agrees “…only in South Africa we are taken for fools by our government …” Others shared that a protest takes place on 8th July in Pretoria, Cape Town, Gauteng, and Durban.
Smokers think they run out of options
Not everyone agrees that the ban is bad. But, there are many comments from non-smokers that indicated concern about the cost to the country in tax revenue. South Africans are tired. Tired of tax levels, tired of seeing revenue lost and the economy being damaged. Even for many non-smokers, it seems that’s the bottom line.
The courts may not like the “irrationality” of the ban as a legal argument. But, many South Africans do consider this ban irrational. Indeed, when placed next to the fact that alcohol, directly linked to lack of social distancing and assault, is legal – how can cigarettes be more harmful? smokers ask. Smokers have not quit smoking, they simply turned to illegal cigarettes which completely defeats the purpose of the ban, they feel.
With weeks or perhaps months of court and few other options, smokers now take to the streets. Do you have an opinion on this? Will a protest march make any difference? Sound off in the comments below.
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