Dlamini-Zuma announced on Wednesday that the National Command Council (NCC) had changed its mind on allowing the sale of cigarettes during the coronavirus outbreak, due to health reasons.
This was an about-turn on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that the easing of the lockdown on Friday 1 May meant that cigarettes and tobacco products would go on sale again.
Due to this, Zuma has been criticised by a large number of South Africans and being accused of being involved in illegal dealing of the banned products. Some believe that she is involved in the smuggling of cigarettes hence the reason why she would want to reverse what was initially publicised by the president.
Since the ban of cigarettes, the has been an increase in the sale of these cigarettes on the black markets being sold at ridiculous prices because of demand and supply issues.
A petition demanding that Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to step down has widely circulated and shared a thousand times across social media platforms gaining momentum which has so far given it over 110,000 signatures.
According to the organizers, Zuma has taken away people’s rights to do whatever they want and decide what enters their bodies and not let anyone dictate anything for them.
The reasons for the petition are as follows:
Why should we as people with rights sit back and allow just another person to take away our freedom as citizens. We should all have the rights to our own bodies and consequences thereafter. We should stand together and not let our freedom slip through our hands
We as the people in a democracy should have a say on who should be tho ones to look after us as a nation.
What does WHO say about Coronavirus and Smoking?
Given that tobacco use is thought to kill an estimated eight million people every year, a recent report that claimed that smokers were less likely to contract coronavirus raised eyebrows.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), those who smoke are likely to be more vulnerable to infection.
“Smokers may also already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase the risk of serious illness.”
“Conditions that increase oxygen needs or reduce the ability of the body to use it properly will put patients at higher risk of serious lung conditions such as pneumonia.”
Using tobacco products can increase your chance of getting #COVID19
❗️Bringing your👐to your👄can transfer the virus into your body
❗️Sharing tobacco products can transmit the virus between people
❗️Tobacco weakens your respiratory system making you more vulnerable to the virus pic.twitter.com/nFOCwAoFyK
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) April 22, 2020
A report in March by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) has also identified smokers as a “vulnerable group” to infection from COVID-19, due to the “higher susceptibility” of ACE2 receptors.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization have also suggested that the very act of smoking increases the possibility of virus transmission.
“Fingers are in contact with lips … and smoking products such as water pipes often involve the sharing of mouthpieces and hoses, which could facilitate the transmission of COVID-19 in communal and social settings.”