There may be some faint signs of life for those embroiled in the tobacco ban and its subsequent legal battles. Not only is the campaign to bring back cigarettes submitting more evidence to the court, but reports are suggesting that some of the bigger companies are now taking orders from suppliers to distribute their smokes.
NO DATE FOR THE RESALE OF CIGARETTES… YET
Tax Justice South Africa estimates that R35 million per day is being lost to these illegal cigarette sales, costing the economy about R3 billion in lost revenue so far. The damage has been devastating.
Elsewhere has been a suggestion made online that the nicotine-based products will go back on sale by 1 July. However, this remains unverified and has not been confirmed by any official source.
TOBACCO BAN COURT CASE LATEST: ‘NEW SUBMISSIONS’ BEING PLANNED
Bev Maclean, however, is somebody firmly in the know. The activist who started the monster petition to invalidate the tobacco ban confirmed on Thursday that she’ll be doing what she can to force the judges in the case to come to a quicker conclusion. A new poll, being run on her Facebook page, aims to gauge public opinion on the length of time it’s taking to publish a final verdict:
“I have created a poll and this poll is going to be sent to the Judges Mlambo, Basson & Molefe who are still deciding if FITA has won their court case. We, the smokers and smoker friends want a decision, we are tired of waiting any longer. I want to send the results by Monday 29 June 2020.”
CIGARETTE ORDERS PLANNED, BUT THE TOBACCO BAN ISN’T OVER YET
On Thursday, a spokesperson for British American Tobacco (BAT) said that the company has started accepting “holding orders” from its customers. However, when speaking to Business Insider, the representative didn’t confirm a date for when he believed the tobacco ban would be lifted in South Africa.
Johnny Moloto, the head of external affairs, says that their move to process orders is to better prepare for an eventual lifting of the restrictions on cigarettes. At no point did he or BAT suggest that they are selling cigarettes, but rather, they are getting ready for the day they can put smokes back on the shelves.
It may seem like a small move, but it holds major significance: With suppliers permitted to purchasing more cigarettes, it’s believed that there will be a quick turnaround in lifting the controversial tobacco ban.
This glimmer of hope could see tobacco make a triumphant return soon. We’ve made several follow-up queries with BAT, but they are yet to commit to a time-frame on when we can buy smokes again. For now, it will be left to suppliers to place their orders. No doubt there’ll be a few stocking-up to counter the inevitable demand…