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Scientific data, logic used for govt's tobacco sales ban decision - Dlamini-Zuma

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has submitted the reasons which were taken into account when deciding on regulation 27 that was invoked for the national state of disaster.

Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at a briefing on the coronavirus in Pretoria on 19 March 2020. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs minister said that the government had relied on scientific data, logic and a duty to reduce the burden on the health system when it decided to ban the sale of cigarettes.

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has submitted the reasons which were taken into account when deciding on regulation 27 that was invoked for the national state of disaster, which includes the prohibition of tobacco product sales.

This is part of the court papers submitted to the high court where the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association is challenging the constitutionality of the decision by the National Coronavirus Command Council and has cited her and the president as respondents.

Minister Dlamini-Zuma explained in the document, seen by Eyewitness News, that the overarching rationale for the decision to suspend the sale of tobacco products was to protect human life and reduce a potential strain on the healthcare system.

The detailed record of reasons cited scientific studies that supported government’s stance that there was evidence that the use of tobacco increased the risk of COVID-19 transmission and the potential to contract a more severe form of the disease.

She also admitted, though, that studies around the potential links between the use of tobacco products and COVID-19 were still being undertaken.

The document further reads that because tobacco is known to lead to respiratory diseases and COVID-19 primarily affects that part of the body, it is logical to proceed on the basis that it may lead to increased risks.

Meanwhile, the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association said that it hoped that the matter would be heard in court on 9 June.

It argued that the government’s decision had harmed smokers and taken away some of their rights as enshrined in the Constitution.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.