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FITA Moves To Appeal Dismissal Of Cigarette Sales Ban Challenge

The Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita) is appealing a court ruling that dismissed its challenge to overturn government’s ban on the sale of cigarettes.

The organisation had argued that the ban should be overturned on the basis that tobacco products were addictive, among other things, and therefore should be declared essential.

The High Court in Pretoria found that the argument had no merits but Fita believes the court erred in its reading of the Disaster Management Act.

The appeal was submitted on Friday following weeks of heated debate on the contentious issue.

In its judgment last month, the High Court in Pretoria found that even if the substance was addictive this did not render it essential, adding that there was no basis on which to interpret that level 5 of the lockdown regulations as permitting the sale of tobacco products.

But in its application for leave to appeal, Fita said that the ruling had a number of misrepresentations in its reading of the Disaster Management Act.

If the appeal is granted, government will have two cases challenging the same regulations – British American Tobacco has also secured a court date in August to fight the ban.