WATCH | Cigarette ban: British American Tobacco SA in court

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06 August 18:09

Govt aware of economic harm of cigarette sale ban - but will lift when safe, court told

Government is well aware of the economic harm caused by the ban on the sale of tobacco products, as well as potential job losses.

It is monitoring the situation closely and will lift the ban as soon as it is safe to do so and would not impact the health care system.Currently, however, it is not yet safe to lift the ban.

These submissions were made on behalf of Minister of Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in a challenge of the ban by British American Tobacco SA and others in the Western Cape High Court.

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06 August 14:42

Breitenbach says jobs losses figure of 296 000 is "exaggerated" and "unreliable". His argument, however, is not to deny the economic impact of the ban. 

Government is mindful of the economic harm, says Breitenbach.  

06 August 14:39

We are back after the lunch break.

Breitenbach says the ban is temporary. When it is medically safe to do so, the ban will be lifted.

06 August 13:04

Court adjourns for lunch break. Proceedings to resume at 14:00.

06 August 12:41

Breitenbach: She took the decision [to ban tobacco sales] knowing she would be giving rise to illicit trade, but it was taken to alleviate burden on healthcare system. The minister would not ban legal sales to fuel illicit trade.   

06 August 12:38

Breitenbach rejects the idea that the ban has simply given rise to the illicit market. In fact, the illicit trade, according to Breitenbach is "an unfortunate reality" in South Africa. 

06 August 12:33

Advocate Andrew Breitenbach, on behalf of government, says the intention of the ban is to reduce the incidence of smoking in order to reduce pressure on health services.

06 August 12:17

Mix of Covid-19 and other illnesses creates a 'toxic concoction' court hears in BATSA case

On Thursday advocate Karrisha Pillay SC, argued on behalf of the minister that the ban seeks to reduce - and not completely eliminate - incidents of smoking and to free up critical resources to respond to severe cases of Covid-19.

"This court's role is not to assess which side's scientific evidence is better, but the question is whether, having regard to the evidence the minister had regards to, it can be said that she made a reasonable and rational decision," said Pillay.

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06 August 12:02

Pillay says the court must consider the evidence of the WHO on the effects of quitting [smoking]: It is therefore logical that stopping smoking will have beneficial effect to both smokers and non-smokers. 

06 August 12:00

Pillay turns to issue of whether cessation in smoking will lessen or reverse disease progression of Covid-19. She is relying on studies to make the point: Chance of infection for someone who has quit smoking is not clear, given how new Covid-19 is, but there is clear evidence of benefits in the long and short term for people who quit.

06 August 11:19

Court is currently on a tea adjournment. 

06 August 11:02

Pillay says it's not for the court to decide which science is best. The consideration should be whether it can be said that the decision to ban the sale of cigarettes is "reasonable, rational and a necessary decision."

06 August 11:00

Pillay quotes from New England Journal of Medicine study which found that former and current smokers have a higher propensity of contracting Covid-19. Pillay says the minister considers the study "the best in the world". 

06 August 10:04

Smokers are more likely to develop disease with Covid-19, the statement reads, available research shows that smokers are also at higher just.

WHO is constantly evaluating new research.  

06 August 10:04

Question approached: Whether the justification of the ban by Dlamini-Zuma was born out of documents and information relied on, the four sources are named.

These include WHO statements - specifically dealing with tobacco use and Covid-19, dated 11 April 2020.

06 August 10:00

Adv Karrisha Pillay for the Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma highlights the increased behavioural risk behaviours associated with the use of tobacco and the justification the ban.

06 August 09:52

ICYMI: Cigarette sales ban based on 'perverse justification', court hears

Any benefit achieved by the continued ban on tobacco sales would be outweighed by far by the damage caused, British American Tobacco SA's legal team argued in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

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