For any smoker, almost nothing compares to that first drag of a cigarette during your morning coffee or after dinner.
However, as we enter day eight of the nationwide lockdown, smoking has proven to be something of a drag.
This follows Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel announcing the sale of cigarettes will be prohibited during the lockdown.
This decision saw smokers quickly try and stock up enough smokes for the impending three weeks. However, not everyone could buy in bulk. This has resulted in people taking to social media, imploring where they could find cigarettes during the lockdown.
As smokers fight their cravings, the South African Drug Policy Initiative (SADPI) has called for the ban to be repealed. The SADPI claims the band is harmful to people who suffer from substance abuse disorders.
The SADPI explains that while the government’s decision to ban was made with the best intentions, there are reasons why it isn’t a good idea.
Firstly, the SADPI claims the decisions fails to consider how the ban will affect those who suffer from substance use disorders. Especially when it comes to alcohol, as those with substance use disorders can’t simply stop using drugs.
The SADPI claims that if they do, they stand the risk of developing other health-related issues. These issues include psychosis, seizures and ultimately death.
Another reason the SADPI feels the ban was a bad decision, is those who have problematic drug use disorders must now break the law and acquire their cigarettes and alcohol from an illegal source, while running the risk of being arrested.
While smokers around the country are yearning for their fix, the Western Cape has lifted the ban on the sale of cigarettes. However, there is a catch.
The Western Cape government says it is okay for stores in the province to sell cigarettes. But cigarettes can only be sold alongside items listed as essentials in regulations governing the lockdown.
However, Police Minister Bheki Cele warns businesses in the Western Cape that police will crack down on them if they sell cigarettes.
He further states that cigarette sales are not allowed in any province, even in the Western Cape.
To date, Cele says the police have arrested 2 289 people since the start of the lockdown for violating regulations.
As cigarettes are not classified as essential products, we now ask our readers who enjoy smoking, what do you feel on the ban? Were you able to stock up prior to the lockdown? Or are you sitting at home, unable to enjoy your nicotine fix? Do you feel the ban should be lifted?
Leave your thoughts and views with us in the comment section below.