“The application by Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association is dismissed.”
With these words, the high court ruled on Friday that the sale of tobacco products would remain banned under the government’s lockdown regulations.
Fita had taken the government to court, challenging the ongoing ban on tobacco and related products. Government had opposed the court application relying largely on the negative health implications of smoking.
The three judges hearing the case said in the judgment: “Many products and services were prohibited during the lockdown period in so far as they were defined as non-essential.
“Many industries were restricted as a goal of curbing and managing the pandemic.
“Differential or preferential treatment for tobacco products and/or the tobacco industry therefore cannot be countenanced, as tobacco products were simply not considered to be essential.
“Fita’s argument that cigarettes ought to have been considered ‘essential’ because they are addictive has no merit.
“The fact that a substance is addictive does not render it essential. We therefore find no basis on which to interpret the level five regulations as permitting the sale of tobacco products.”
This is a developing story.