The Constitution of South Africa is the supreme law of the Republic of South Africa. It provides the legal foundation for the existence of the republic, it sets out the rights and duties of its citizens, and defines the structure of the Government.
The prohibition against the sale of tobacco in South Africa during lockdown is fundamentally an infringement of your constitutional rights, namely:
- Section 10 of the Constitution provides that “everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected”.
- Section 12(2) of the Constitution, which forms part of the right to freedom and security of person, provides that “everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity”, which includes the right to “security in and control over their body”.
As citizens of South Africa there is an argument that our rights and freedom of choice have gone up in smoke, and been removed without any justifiable basis.
Furthermore, nicotine withdrawal causes bad tempers, frustration, agitation, anxiety and mood swings. There is vast documentary evidence of the damaging health effects of smoking, however there is absolutely no evidence that COVID – 19 symptoms are alleviated by a period of abstinence from smoking. To the contrary, there is a substantial amount of evidence of the short-term risk to the mental well being of those who use tobacco as a coping mechanism. This restriction on our rights and freedom of choice has ultimately opened up pandora’s box for far more serious issues such as an increase in the risk of domestic violence. As people suffer from a withdrawal of nicotine in confined and stressful circumstances, so will the suffering of those who are at the hands of the person placed in the position of not being able to access tobacco products.
The ban on the sale of tobacco has far reaching consequences for its citizens, which consequences are starting to rear their ugly heads!
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Author – Kate Bailey – Hill