90% Of Smokers Are Still Buying Cigarettes During Lockdown

90% Of Smokers Are Still Buying Cigarettes During Lockdown

The ban on cigarettes and alcohol has been a deeply controversial issue in South Africa, and recent studies have shown that, despite the ban, the vast majority of smokers continue to buy cigarettes anyways.A new study by the University of Cape Town, which surveyed around 2,000 people, has shown that 90% of smokers have been able to get their hands on cigarettes, regardless of the ban, as reported by News24. However, they have had to buy their cigarettes from different retailers.Prior to the lockdown, 56% of smokers purchased their cigarettes from formal retailers, while 34% bought from spaza shops and 4% bought from home shops. After lockdown, the percentage of people buying from formal retailers dropped to 3%, spaza shops rose to 44% and home shops rose to 18%. The study also found that many other formerly unused outlets have been used, including street vendors (26%), friends (30%), WhatsApp groups (11%) and “essential worker” acquaintances (10%).Another study by the Department of Science and Innovation and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) found that there was a higher prevalence of people purchasing cigarettes if they had access to alcohol, with 72% of people purchasing illegal alcohol also purchasing cigarettes.Cigarettes have been prohibited since the start of the lockdown in South Africa on 26 March. And, despite President Ramaphosa announcing the lifting of the ban on 23 April, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma made a U-turn on the decision days later.

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