The Tobacco Industry’s hypocrisy on illicit trade

Since the temporary ban on the sale of tobacco and alcohol products in South Africa, the Tobacco industry has used the illicit tobacco trade argument to rally against the government’s ban. This article denotes this as one of the deceitful tactics the industry uses as it lusts for profits at the cost of health.

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africa put in place a lockdown that included a temporary ban on the sale of cigarettes and alcohol products. This measure received a lot of criticism from large companies such as British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA), Philip Morris South Africa (PMSA) and Japan Tobacco International (JTI) who argued that the ban would drive illicit trade and urged the government to reverse the ban while presenting legal actions against it.

The South African government is working to defend the ban against the industry’s legal challenges. Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma in response argued about the importance of the ban showing that the illicit problem has long existed. The tobacco industry continues to focus on its primary goal to sell its deadly products rather than protect the health of its consumers.

See the original article by Allen Gallagher, Mateusz Zatonski, Tom Hird, and Lekan Ayo-Yusuf in The Daily Maverick here.