Fita application to have cigarettes declared essential dismissed

File: South Africa moves into eased lockdown regulations from Friday, 1 May.

File: The sale of cigarettes remains prohibited.


PRETORIA - A Fita application to have cigarettes deemed essential services during the lockdown has been dismissed.

The Pretoria High Court said a product's addictive properties do not mean it can be deemed essential during the lockdown.

READ: Legal battle over tobacco ban delayed until August

The court stated it found no basis on which to interpret the Level 5 regulations as permitting the sale of tobacco products.

The applicants made the argument that the prohibition of cigarettes was irrational and also gave no consideration to harm on the economy, employment, livelihoods, and the health and safety of individuals.

WATCH: Exposing illegal cigarette sales

In their application, Fita said, "it is undeniable that simply and summarily preventing smokers and users of tobacco products from using these products gives rise to very serious physical and emotional adverse consequences. This leads to many users resorting to illicit non-regulated products that pose a significant health hazard."

The High Court said cigarettes and related tobacco products do not, by their nature, fall into the same category as goods which are life-sustaining or necessary for basic functionality and sn interpretation of the regulations to expand to such a meaning would be insupportable.

Fita said it will be appealing the judgment.

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