On route to buy essentials you will meet street vendors selling cigarettes even though lockdown restrictions prohibit any and all sales of tobacco products. It has been reported that as much as 90 per cent of South African smokers have found ways to access cigarettes and support their addiction. The price of a pack of 20 cigarettes sells for R100.00 to R150.00 and this has in no way curbed people from buying their fix. The local spaza shop has been selling packets under code name: “ grandpa” and once stock has arrived it doesn’t last passed an hour. Cars start parking as messages are sent to fellow smokers to hurry and come get their share of overpriced packs.
An interesting shift has happened though as 16 per cent of smokers opted to take this moment as an opportunity to quit smoking. Between 29 April and 1 of May people decided to put down their habit. The Universtity of Cape Town Professor Corne van Walbeek reported recently on an interview on Power Fm that people were forced to re-evaluate their choices. People have been taking precautionary measures to protect their lungs from the virus while others have questioned how government could open trade on a product that compromises lungs, while fighting the spread of a respiratory virus.
Sales of cigarettes and alcohol continue despite the restrictions and the black market thrives on high priced selling of these banned products.
For people who are desperate to quit smoking they can Call the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) QUIT Line: 011 720 3145
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