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Here's why Fita’s appealing court decision on tobacco sales ban

The High Court in Pretoria last month dismissed Fita’s application to overturn the ban on cigarette sales, saying that the organistion’s argument had no merits, among other things.

Picture: 123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG – The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) said that part of its reason for appealing the decision to keep the tobacco ban was because there was no telling when the COVID-19 pandemic will be over.

The High Court in Pretoria last month dismissed Fita’s application to overturn the ban on cigarette sales, saying that the organistion’s argument had no merits, among other things.

If the appeal application is granted, the contentious issue could be ventilated in two separate courts as British American Tobacco South Africa (Batsa) has also challenged the ban.

Although President Cyril Ramaphosa gave an assurance earlier this week that the ban on cigarettes sales would eventually be scrapped, Fita’s Sinenhlanhla Mnguni said that there was no way to tell how long the lockdown would last.

“As it currently stands, SA is the only country in the world which has banned the sale of cigarettes during the time of COVID-19.”

Fita believes government has erred in its interpretation of the disaster management act and that’s why it's appealing.

The organisation also cited studies that it said did not support government’s stance on smoking in relation to COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Batsa is also questioning the rationality of the ban.

It's gearing up for a court battle against the regulations, with the case reconvening next month.

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