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New Reep study shows purpose of tobacco ban is being defeated - Yusuf Abramjee

21 July 2020 7:42 PM
Tags:
Smoking
The Money Show
Yusuf Abramjee
Bruce Whitfield
cigarettes
illicit cigarettes
Coronavirus
Lockdown
COVID-19
Fita
Tobacco Ban
level 3 lockdown

A second lockdown survey finds that more people are now buying and also sharing cigarettes as prices skyrocket.

The government's ongoing lockdown ban on the sale of tobacco and tobacco products has resulted in growing opposition from smokers, the tobacco industry and lobby groups.

Now a new online study conducted by experts based at the University of Cape Town (UCT) indicates that more people are sharing cigarettes than before the lockdown, as the prices of illegal smokes skyrocket.

RELATED: More smokers sharing 'skyfs' and cigarette prices up by nearly 250%, study finds

According to the Research Unit on the Economics of Excisable Products (Reep), the percentage of smokers buying cigarettes during lockdown has also increased since its first online survey, published in May.

That figure now stands at 93% - up from the 91% reported in the first study (conducted between 29 April and 11 May).

RELATED: 'It's a Wild West situation' - most smokers able to access ciggies, at a price

And as illicit traders cash in, government is losing billions in revenue.

RELATED: Government lost roughly R2-billion in cigarette revenue over lockdown period

Bruce Whitfield interviews anti-crime activist and Tax Justice SA founder Yusuf Abramjee.

I don't think the government realises that the longer it [the ban] is going to continue the longer these criminals are going to become richer, and interestingly in this report by UCT, the Fita brands are coming top of the list!

Yusuf Abramjee, Founder - Tax Justice South Africa

The government instituted the ban to support public health during the Covid-19 pandemic, but its reasoning has been destroyed by the report says Abramjee.

According to the findings, most smokers who've quit during lockdown did so not because of health reasons or wanting to obey government regulations, but because of the inflated prices of cigarettes.

This research... in this 67-page report is very clear: They're calling for the ban to be lifted. They're saying that according to the research five times the number of smokers are now regularly sharing cigarettes as you mentioned than before the ban - a serious health risk with Covid-19. It could be deadly!

Yusuf Abramjee, Founder - Tax Justice South Africa

The researches argue that instead of imposing a sales ban to stop people from smoking cigarettes, the government would have been able to achieve a similar outcome by substantially increasing the excise tax.

You can access the full study here.

Listen to the interview with Abramjee in the audio below:


21 July 2020 7:42 PM
Tags:
Smoking
The Money Show
Yusuf Abramjee
Bruce Whitfield
cigarettes
illicit cigarettes
Coronavirus
Lockdown
COVID-19
Fita
Tobacco Ban
level 3 lockdown

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