The bans on tobacco products and alcohol sales announced in March, sadly included safer alternatives such as e-cigarettes and snus. Naturally this had many angered. Vapour Products Association of South Africa (VPASA) chief executive Asanda Gcoyi, reiterated that treating cigarettes and safer alternatives in the same manner poses a significant problem.

Vaping is not smoking, those are two different things. Both vaping and cigarettes contain nicotine, but nicotine is not what kills people in smoking, people die because of the tar,” she said.

On top of this, in line with arguments by international health experts, Gcoyi added that another concern is vapers going back to smoking or purchasing vape products on the black market. “My other concern is the illicit market. People are buying vape juice from shops we know nothing about, we hear it’s available at spaza shops, stories that people are mixing juices at home, which is extremely dangerous, because they are just mixing things and the environment is not right.”

The ban is failing to do what it aims to do

“Smokers are buying cigarettes in large quantities, despite the lockdown, and unusual brands are becoming prevalent.”
And this is exactly what has been happening. Sadly, a recently released study by the University of Cape Town, proved these predictions to be right. Economic scholars Corné van Walbeek, Samantha Filby and Kirsten van der Zee, surveyed over 16,000 people on how they’ve been affected by the tobacco ban.

“Our findings suggest that the ban on cigarette sales is failing in what it was supposed to do,” reported the researchers. “While the original intention of the ban was to support public health, the current disadvantages of the ban may well outweigh the advantages. Smokers are buying cigarettes in large quantities, despite the lockdown, and unusual brands are becoming prevalent.”

The researchers found that in fact, not many have quit smoking. About 41% of the smokers surveyed have tried to quit, with 39% of those being successful and 61% who were not. Additionally, 12% of the quitters said that once cigarette sales are permitted, they will start smoking again.

Smokers have turned to the black market

Instead of buying cigarettes from major retailers such as Spar, South Africa’s version of Walmart, as predicted people have turned to the black market, street vendors, unregulated corner shops, as well as friends and family. And as popular brands have for now disappeared, unfamiliar and unknown brands have become more prominent, as have the sales of single cigarettes. All this will of course amongst other things, also carry serious economic and law enforcing consequences.

“The 1920s script of what happened in the US during Prohibition is happening now in South Africa,” said Derek Yach, the president of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, who is South African. “This goes to prove the lengths people will go to—the innovation they’ll adopt—to track down what they want.”

Tony Leon, South Africa’s former leader of the opposition from 1999 to 2007 and now the executive chairman of the communications firm Resolve, said that just because South Africans were ordered to stop smoking, it doesn’t mean that they did. “There is no study that if you ban legal cigarettes, habitual smokers are just going to stop smoking. There are 11 million smokers in this country. This ban has not turned them into 11 million nonsmokers.”

Read Further: Filter

Are E-Cig Restrictions Undermining Efforts to Fight COVID-19?

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Edmund Mitchell
Edmund Mitchell
4 months ago

Well the almost exactly the same thing can be said with the vape ban in the USA forcing our nation’s kids to mix chemicals in their rooms and switch to a 100% known killer such as regular cigarettes.

None
None
4 months ago

Why bring back alcohol if alcohol can kill you. And make you do stupid stuff with alcohol you can’t stop everyone. But with sigarettes no one wants to kill someone smokers can’t kill someone or hurt someone. But alcohol can make you do stuff you can’t even remember you dit

Mohau
Mohau
4 months ago

We are really going to die from smoking what we don’t know if it’s really tobacco or what because now the rate of smoking is not lowered like it was expected but more high. If covid-19 is from sharing cigarette now that is very high because it’s not sold so any one who have 1cigarette many people ask to have some pulls there. There maybe more than 5 people sharing one cigarette which is not usually happening when it’s sold.

Vicki Phillips
Vicki Phillips
4 months ago

Ok so what are you saying, that America shouldn’t do anything at all? Ridiculous. I am a smoker and I myself would love to see the ban of all tobacco products stationing NOW.

Vicki Phillips
Vicki Phillips
Reply to  Vicki Phillips
4 months ago

Starting now

Blaise
Blaise
4 months ago

Who gives them the right to fk with our freedom of choice

Delinda Temlett
Delinda Temlett
4 months ago

I am not a smoker. But I do feel for the people who are. Should it not be the right of the person to decided if they want to stop smoking. No one had ever conformed when they are forced to do something. If you smoke the responsibility should be taken by the smoker to determine what happens to their life.

Belinda
Belinda
4 months ago

I think this tobacco ban is personal for Dlamini we all know why but cant say it out loud🤐 …secondly she’s on a power trip totally misusing her power..it makes one wonder who is president..she or president Ramaphosa ..thirdly..why aren’t there charges made against her for fraud,lying about the over 2000 people signing petitions against smoking,that makes Dlamini a criminal! ..and needs to go to jail for deceiving the country..shes a liar! ! And should be removed from parliament with immediate effect! If it was one of us we would be in jail right now..why isn’t she! !

Isaac Bragg
Isaac Bragg
4 months ago

They shouldn’t have signed that bill. If teens die it’s on them

Isaac Bragg
Isaac Bragg
4 months ago

I’m 19 and now doing tobacco bc the vape ban.

Lynn Jagger
Lynn Jagger
4 months ago

Why does the gov not impose a ban on alcohol again since lifting the ban some serious killings has happened ..And secondly I as a smoker will buy my cigarettes and sit at home and smoke now with this ban people are on the road searching for shops who sell illegal cigarettes and is paying up to R15.00 for a single puff my word isn’t this the course for the surge in the covid virus …umban the sale of cigarettes and then we’ll purchase our smokes and be indoors

Dalene
Dalene
4 months ago

Its a farce and a powerplay, why didnt the rest of the world place a ban if it was linked to covid? Someone really shoyld investigate who benefits from illegal cigarettes. Follow the money because we have people who have made millions

Gerda
Gerda
4 months ago

I am smoking for 35 plus years. Been smoking through the ban. Paying very high prices but I wont stop smoking.