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Country News

  • Thursday, April 02, 2020
  • Boost for smokers: Western Cape lifts ‘lockdown ban’ on cigarette sales

  • Just days after the National Disaster Act outlawed the sale of cigarettes during our three-week lockdown period, the Western Cape government have relaxed this law almost entirely. They have confirmed on Wednesday that smokers will be allowed to get their ciggies, but there’s a small caveat… After the ban on purchasing cigarettes was lifted in several local districts, the entire Western Cape has decided to follow suit. A recently released statement explains that smokers can indeed get their fix, but they must only purchase tobacco if they’re also shopping for essential goods. [...]

  • Thursday, March 26, 2020
  • If you smoke, prepare to argue cigarettes are a basic good – or go without during lockdown

  • Unless regulations published on Wednesday change before then, it will be illegal to sell cigarettes in South Africa for three weeks starting on Friday.

    And grocery store managers afraid of jail may even need convincing that nappies and toothpaste fall under the definition of "basic goods" that you can't go without. The regulations can be changed at any time, by simple publication in the Government Gazette. But at briefings on Wednesday ministers made it clear that they sought the maximum level of restriction during South Africa's Covid-19 shutdown, and wanted to create a list of things allowed, [...]

  • Thursday, March 12, 2020
  • Taxes on e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products are not nearly high enough

  • South Africans will soon pay more for “novel” tobacco and nicotine products. This follows last month’s budget speech in which the finance minister announced that: “In line with department of health policy, we will start taxing heated tobacco products (HTPs), for example, hubbly-bubbly. The rate will be set at 75% of the rate of cigarettes. Electronic-cigarettes, or so-called vapes, will be taxed from 2021.”

  • Friday, February 28, 2020
  • Malawi legalises cannabis amid hopes of fresh economic growth

  • Malawi has passed a bill decriminalising cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes, almost five years after a motion to legalise industrial hemp was adopted.

    The country follows in the footsteps of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Lesotho, neighbouring south-east African states that have legalised medicinal cannabis, as well as South Africa, where medicinal and recreational use was decriminalised in 2018.

    “Today is a very glorious day for me personally and, I think, for the entire nation,” said Boniface Kadzamira, the former MP who tabled the topic in 2015, following the successful passage of the bill on Thursday.

  • Thursday, February 27, 2020
  • E-Cigarettes, Plastic Straws Next in South Africa’s Tax Sights

  • The South African government may start taxing e-cigarettes and plastic straws as it ramps up green and health taxes to boost revenue and change behavior. [...] The government will start taxing heated tobacco products immediately and intends to introduce a levy on electronic cigarettes next year. “Globally, policymakers are looking at regulating and taxing these products due to concerns about their health effect,” the Treasury said. [...]

  • Wednesday, March 25, 2020

  • A good reference reviewing the available evidence on the relation between smoking, vaping and COVID-
    19 is the article written by Farsalinos, Barbouni and Nyaura [10] (see also the professional blog entry of

    Farsalinos [11]). The authors conclude after reviewing the data from five studies on patients infected by
    SARS-CoV-2 that the relation between smoking cigarettes and the severity of COVID-19 in infected
    Chinese patients is uncertain and even protective (bearing in mind that 52.1% of Chinese men smoke
    whereas only 2.7% of women do).