POLL | Should the lockdown ciggie ban be lifted?
While the lockdown continues to curb the spread of coronavirus, government maintains that, like alcohol, the sale of cigarettes will remain a non-essential item.
Health minister Zweli Mkhize said at the weekend that cigarettes had a negative effect on health and placed smokers at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus.
“Once you put Covid-19 in as an added infection, we believe those who smoke are more vulnerable to being affected because Covid-19 affects the capacity of the lungs to be able to process the daily exchange of gases in the lungs.
“We discourage people from smoking. I still have to find a benefit that tobacco will have in an individual,” he said.
His remarks followed threats made by the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) on Friday to take the government to court to force it to lift the temporary ban on cigarette trade during the lockdown.
Its director, Sinenhlanhla Mnguni, said the uncertainty around when the lockdown would end was what would force the association to resort to taking government to court.
He said allowing the sale of cigarettes would give the economy “a much-needed boost,” TimesLIVE reported.