Cigarette ban court dlamini-zuma

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Cigarette ban in court: Lawyers tear into Dlamini-Zuma for ‘dismal failure’

The acid-tongued legal representative for FITA has blasted Minister Dlamini-Zuma while setting out a fierce argument for lifting the cigarette ban.

Cigarette ban court dlamini-zuma

Photo: Pixabay

The bell has rung for round one of a courtroom clash between the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) and COGTA Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Already, it would seem that the industry giants have delivered the first blow after they delivered their arguments against the government’s cigarette ban.

Cigarette ban in court – the arguments made by FITA

Arnold Subel took to the dock for FITA, outlining the case his client was desperate to make. As the leader of the NCCC – and the Cabinet minister who announced the extended ban on smokes – Dlamini-Zuma is the politician in the firing line. Subel slammed NDZ for a ‘dismal failure’ to explain the prohibition of tobacco:

“If government restricts what is otherwise legal, then criminalise it and outlaw it. The regulator should provide a rational basis behind such a measure. The Minister should provide reasons and she has failed dismally. Dlamini-Zuma’s agenda is to get people to quit smoking – but is this ever going to be successful?”

Dlamini-Zuma slammed for ‘paying lip service’

Another issue raised early doors relates to how smokers have been completely cut-off from a product they have a dependency on. Millions of South Africans who are addicted to cigarettes were forced to go cold turkey, and withdrawal symptoms from nicotine can cause various health problems. Dlamini-Zuma was branded ‘arrogant’ by dismissing the ‘harmful impact’ of the NCCC’s cigarette ban:

“Their ban on tobacco products is probably the most dramatic, as is shutting down the industry. This has been done with no proper reasons given. All they’ve focused on is lip service but no proper proof. It is arrogant of Dlamini-Zuma to contend that people can give up smoking in a couple of days and ‘get over it’.”

Cigarette ban ‘not based on expert advice’

Subel took another bite, arguing that the minister had ignored experts and created ‘non-sensical reasons’ to bring a cigarette ban in through the back door:

“When the President announced the ban would be lifted, he must’ve been acting on advice from experts. Minister Dlamini-Zuma is not the expert. There needs to scientific proof for this and we haven’t gotten that to date… The argument that by banning sales you were going to stop smoking is a non-sequitur.”

Dlamini-Zuma “cannot stop everyone from smoking”

It was a feisty start to proceedings, which are set to continue through Wednesday. Subel’s attack on the cigarette ban didn’t stop there, and he listed a range of contentious issues with the legislation:

  • Subel asked the court that if there is “inconclusive research”, why is there a cigarette ban?
  • He argues that the ban is irrational because Dlamini-Zuma cannot prevent everyone from smoking.
  • Only South Africa and Botswana have banned the sale of cigarettes – which is not in line with global trends.
  • FITA told the court they “need to see the documentary support” for the studies that grounded the state’s cigarette ban.
  • Subel states that the unbanning of alcohol “will have a far greater impact on SA’s health services” than cigarettes.
  • Lastly, 600 000 people signed a competition arguing against banning cigarettes – Subel says they were ‘ignored’ by the state.’