Cigarette ban rehab

Photo: Pixabay

Cigarette ban: Joburg rehab centre ‘given permission’ to buy smokes

Another day, another contradiction in the cigarette ban surfaces: Here’s why a rehab centre in Johannesburg was allowed to purchase tobacco.

Cigarette ban rehab

Photo: Pixabay

For those of you who are finding the cigarette ban desperately unfair, this latest development is likely to compound the misery. It was revealed in court on Wednesday that a local branch of Makro was authorised to sell cartons of smokes to a rehab centre in Johannesburg, despite strict regulations forbidding such purchases.

Cigarette ban: Why was a rehab centre allowed to by tobacco?

Testimony from a recovering drug addict was submitted to the court by British American Tobacco (BATSA). Melinda Ferguson also argued that the consumption of cigarettes has kept her off harder drugs over the years, and the tobacco sales ban risks jeopardising this progress.

That’s when Advocate Alfred Cockrell took the bench by surprise, revealing that the Gauteng Health Department gave special permission for rehab centres to order a total of 60 cigarette cartons. The exemption was, allegedly, granted to help recovering addicts cope with the pressures of quitting serious narcotic addictions.

One rule for some…

The special ruling has left a sour taste in the mouths of many – mainly because it completely undermines the arguments made by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and the rest of Cabinet about the cigarette ban. Tobacco has been deemed unessential, and yet, emergency shipments of the stuff are being ordered behind closed doors.

Cigarette ban court case – latest updates

Lawyers representing BATSA and the government will do battle again on Thursday, on the last scheduled day of deliberations for the cigarette ban appeal. It could be weeks before we get a verdict, and any decision is expected to be reserved while judges consider the arguments made by the applicants and respondents.

On Wednesday, BATSA argued that Dlamini-Zuma and her colleagues had misrepresented the agenda of the cigarette ban, and based their logic on flimsy evidence. On the counter, the government’s legal team explained that they had sufficient scientific proof that smoking is even more hazardous during this pandemic.