Smokers still puffing away despite lockdown: research

An online survey has revealed that most smokers are able to buy cigarettes in defiance of the lockdown. Conducted by Professor Corné van Walbeek from the University of Cape Town, the survey found that smokers are paying a lot more for cigarettes. Many smokers are having to buy unfamiliar brands, as their favourite brands are often unavailable. We are joined by Professor Corné van Walbeek, the Director of the Research Unit on the Economics of Excisable Products, at the University of Cape Town. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - A study by the University of Cape Town study has dealt government's cigarette ban during the lockdown a major blow.

It says that most smokers have been able to get their hands on a pack of 20's - but at a substantially higher price.

The study was conducted online between April and May this year by 16 000 participants.

41-percent said they tried to quit during the lockdown and 39-percent of these were successful.

SA Lockdown: Court battle over tobacco ban on hold

More than 90-percent of smokers bought cigarettes during the lockdown, despite the ban on tobacco sales.

Professor Corné van Walbeek, the Director of the Research Unit on the Economics of Excisable Products, at the University of Cape Town said about a million smokers have given up smoking due to the lockdown.

A particular dramatic rise in numbers was seen in people using street vendors, house shops, drug dealers, cigarette smugglers, and black market traders.

The study also saw an overwhelming outpouring of anger.

Researchers advised a lift on the ban on cigarette sales, saying the current situation is feeding an illicit market that will be increasingly difficult to eradicate

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