‘Ban of single cigarettes might increase illicit cigarette trade’

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An international tobacco company (JTI), says if the proposed tobacco bill which among other things proposes a ban on the sale of single cigarettes (loose draws) and the public display of nicotine products, gets approved, the illicit cigarette trade will increase rapidly in  South Africa.

Last week, Gauteng engaged in Public hearings on the proposed Tobacco Bill.

The Tshwane leg of the public hearing was marred by allegations that some people were not able to enter the venue to air their views.

Tobacco sellers worried about new bill:     

The National Informal Traders Alliance (NITASA) said their members will be negatively impacted by the proposed Tobacco Bill in its current form.

JTI Spokesperson Bongani Mshibe says the bill is likely to promote black market of tobacco products.

“Unfortunately, the current bill in its form is aimed at promoting public health, preventing young people from taking up smoking and that’s the objective of the bill. However the provisions in the bill do not talk to that.

We have a market where the illegal tobacco sector counts for 75% of the total market – so technically we can say South Africa has almost become a completely black market.   If you look at the bill across the world where similar measures like a ban,  if you look at the United Kingdom for instance for the illicit market shot up after the introductions of such measures.”