Cigarette ban and sales became a point of contention in South Africa and that status quo remains. And, the last week saw a roller-coaster of opinions surrounding the topic. On Monday 17 August, President Ramaphosa announced that the long-standing ban finally got lifted. And, many smokers and tobacco-product sellers rejoiced. However, many people felt unsure of whether to trust this new freedom. After all, the government exhibited a tendency to give and take away such freedoms without warning.
Cigarette ban and sales remain a talking point on social media
Understandably, dubious citizens note that when the alcohol ban got reinstated they backtracked. Later, via a Twitter statement, the government’s Twitter proclaimed the reintroduced ban lasted indefinitely. Then, they backtracked again, causing confusion. Citizens also feel unsure because of Minister Dhlamini-Zuma’s reminder of the government’s power to rescind any decision whenever they feel like it.
The ever-changing state of this pandemic and the information that authorities possess certainly contribute to these back-and-forth proceedings, However, many South Africans grow tired of the cigarette ban and associated alcohol issues.
Sadly she is not the only one, this government turned almost all south Africans into criminals because they saw fit to band smokes and alcohol and may people lost their businesses, but hey the anc government is still making millions the little people don't matter to them
— chimene gino 💜💜💜 🌱 (@chimenedutoit) August 21, 2020
The Tobacco Control Bill
Statements emerged that smoking endangers people outside of the pandemic. And, many associations push for the Control of Tobacco and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill. The bill got published for consideration in 2018. The bill aims to protect and save lives by limiting and regulating tobacco sales. Plus, they focus on paving an easier way for the enactment of the National Health Insurance.
These associations seemingly agree with Dlamini-Zuma’s critical opinion of tobacco products. They too agree with her concerns over the strain that the public health system faces. Actually, they look at the longterm practicality of the bill. It aims for restrictions way after COVID-19 becomes a distant memory. Many people believe that lobbyists use the current COVID-19 situation to further their own agendas.
One Twitter user questioned their long-term objectives. They anticipate a return of the cigarette ban.
@NationalCoGTA @GovernmentZA must PROMISE that smokers will not be discriminated against under our @ConCourtSA Constitution that prohibits government interference in the lives and choices of SA's people. @DlaminiZuma is NOT a medical doctor. She knows nothing. #CigaretteBan
— Rev Dr Ian Samson (@Modern_Hymnary) August 24, 2020
Now, people stock up in anticipation of a further cigarette ban.
— JohanJansenvanVuuren (@JohanvV1) August 21, 2020
What are your thoughts now that cigarettes returned? Is this the last of the summer wine before the cigarette ban comes back again? Do you feel some scepticism that tobacco restrictions end once the coronavirus threat fades? Shout out your thoughts in the comments below.