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The burning issue: Smokers call for ban on tobacco sales to be lifted

The sale of the products remained prohibited under level 3 lockdown and smokers across the nation decided to make their anger felt in a series of protests on Tuesday.

In Cape Town, a group of smokers have gathered at the gates of Parliament to protest against the ban on cigarette sales. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The row around the banning of tobacco products in the country continues to rage on.

The sale of the products remain prohibited under level 3 lockdown and smokers across the nation decided to make their anger felt in a series of protests on Tuesday.

The courts are expected to hand down judgment on applications around the ban in due course.

WATCH: 'South Africa's slipping into a dictatorship' - smokers protest outside parliament

“I’ve got an addiction, why are you making me a criminal?” asked one of the protesters.

Annemarie Beets of Facebook group, Smokers Unite, said the black market was thriving and government was not seeing any of the associated taxes.

Shops that were still selling cigarettes illegally were charging upwards of R200 for a pack of 20 that would usually retail at R40.

Smokers like 70-year-old Joy Smith, who did not want to break the law, had to find creative ways to get their puff.

“I’m standing up for the rights of South Africans because the country is now slipping into a dictatorship,” she said.

The demonstration at the gates of Parliament on Tuesday was one of several nationwide. The country’s biggest tobacco producer British American Tobacco South Africa was also challenging the ban in court.

WATCH: ‘Nobody has a right to tell me what I can put in my body’ - PTA tobacco protesters

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