Hearing the real reason for SA Government’s legal tobacco ban

At noon today I’ll be hosting our regular Biznews Noontime Thursday webinar which this week focuses on the most controversial aspect of the Covid-19 lockdown – a continued ban on legal sales of cigarettes. Government says this is being done for health reasons. Whose health, however, is the big question.

Three independent minded panelists with deep knowledge of the tobacco industry will be with us. Two of them were deeply involved at SA Revenue Services during the era when the tax collection agency was winning its war against illicit cigarettes, cutting off the tobacco-generated profits that fund so much of the organised crime machine (read Freakonomics which explains the business model).

The third panelist is a UCT professor who has spent decades studying excise duties on products like tobacco and whose recent research shows 90% of smokers have not kicked the habit during the past eight weeks – they’ve simply switched from legal to illegal suppliers.

I’ve got more questions than the hour would allow, but the point of the Noontime Thursday webinar is for you, not me, to do the asking. Be sure to post your questions early – there’s going to be quite a crowd. The webinar is free but you do need to sign up beforehand. Here’s the registration link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8398038334086112016

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