South African smokers rejoiced last month as President Cyril Ramaphosa lifted a ban on tobacco sales imposed as part of draconian measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
But less than a week later, one of his cabinet ministers reversed the decision for “health-related” reasons — specifically, that many smokers roll their cigarettes, then share them
According to a government-commissioned study by the Human Sciences Research Council, nearly a quarter of smokers in informal settlements and 16 percent of township residents are now able to buy cigarettes during the lockdown.
“Illicit traders are the only beneficiaries,” said the British America Tobacco South Africa (BATSA).
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