Mr President, the tobacco ban is threatening the recovery of drug addicts
For weeks government has been under fire from smokers over its decision to criminalise the purchase of tobacco products during lockdown.
Many of the country's 8 million or so smokers have signed petitions, participated in protests, and taken to social media calling for the ban to be lifted.
Additionally, a group led by British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA) has begun legal proceedings to challenge the regulations, although government on Wednesday sought to have the matter delayed for a second time.
Author, publisher and recovering addict Melinda Ferguson is one of the 10 co-applicants in the Batsa case.
She joined Lester Kiewit to explain why she feels so strongly about the issue.
I speak as a recovering addict. Someone who used tobacco when I needed to get clean of heroin and crack cocaine.Melinda Ferguson, Publisher - Melinda Ferguson Books
For five years after getting clean I smoked obsessively...and I don't know if I'd have been able to stay off heroin if I didn't have that fix.Melinda Ferguson, Publisher - Melinda Ferguson Books
Co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma previously explained the reason for the justification for the continued ban saying it would result in a “sizeable number” of South Africans quitting the habit.
But Ferguson says very little thought was put into the prohibition and the impact on smokers' mental health, financial sanity, and bodily autonomy.
The cigarettes were taken away in a very brutal way...we were told in level four that we would get it back and all of us just had enough to the first of May.Melinda Ferguson, Publisher - Melinda Ferguson Books
My mental health is at the centre of my plea for the regulations to be overturned.Melinda Ferguson, Publisher - Melinda Ferguson Books
It's my right as a human being, as an adult, to have autonomy over my own body to chose what I decided to ingest.Melinda Ferguson, Publisher - Melinda Ferguson Books
On Tuesday the Pretoria High Court declared the regulations promulgated for lockdown levels four and three as unconstitutional and invalid, however, for now, the judgment changes nothing.
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