'Cost of tobacco ban outweighs benefit'-Industry challenges ban in WC High Court
Lawyers for industry giant British American Tobacco along with tobacco farmers, vendors and consumers will argue that the regulations infringe on rights enshrined in the constitution.
JOHANNESBURG - A major case is before the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday morning as the tobacco industry squares off against government.
Lawyers for industry giant British American Tobacco along with tobacco farmers, vendors and consumers will argue that the regulations infringe on rights enshrined in the Constitution.
Those include the right to trade and smokers’ rights to choose to smoke.
In answering papers, government makes the case for banning tobacco, saying it was a calculated move aimed at ensuring the health care system wasn't overrun during the pandemic.
But attorney for the industry, Webber Wentzel's Mike Evans said the costs to the nation as a whole outweigh the benefits said: “So, what the minister has done is say she is saving 16 beds but the downside of that is this huge boost to illicit trade, the destruction of the industry that is being deprived of R4 billion as a result of the ban and non-selling of cigarettes because the excise duty is not being paid. And consumers have been deprived of their right to smoke and vape. Now those are all the consequences of the ban for an absolutely minimal gain.”