FITA's court bid to have cigarette ban overturned, dismissed with costs

South Africa instituted its ban on the sale of cigarettes in late March, 2020.
South Africa instituted its ban on the sale of cigarettes in late March, 2020.
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The High Court in Pretoria has dismissed with costs an application by the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association to have government's ban on the sale of tobacco products overturned.

FITA argued that cigarettes should be viewed as essential on the basis that tobacco is addictive, among other things.

However, the court was unconvinced.

"FITA’s argument that cigarettes ought to have been considered 'essential' because they are additive 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," reads the judgment.

It adds that it was convinced by government's submission that FITA's argument was "misconceived" as it "ignores the context under which the regulations were promulgated", namely an "unprecedented disaster" that required "swift and effective action from the State".

The application by Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association was dismissed with costs, including the costs of three counsel.

On Friday morning, the court date for a separate legal battle between government and British American Tobacco SA was moved to August. 

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