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Nearly 1 million smokers quit during lockdown tobacco sales ban - study

The data is contained in a study conducted by the University of Cape Town's research unit on the economics of excisable products.

Image:123rf.com

CAPE TOWN - Nearly a million smokers in South Africa quit when cigarette sales were banned during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The data is contained in a study conducted by the University of Cape Town's research unit on the economics of excisable products.

The survey ran from 29 April to 11 May.

The online survey titled Lighting up the illicit market: Smoker's responses to the cigarette sales ban in South Africa, was completed by over 16,000 respondents.

Researchers said that of these, just over 12,200 analysable responses were derived.

The South African Medical Research Council's Dr Catherine Egbe quoted the data at the virtual 2020 World Lung Conference on Thursday.

"Sixteen percent of those who reported smoking before the lockdown reported quitting during the lockdown. If you take 16% of the total number of adult smokers in South Africa, based on the 21% smoking prevalence, you would get between 800,000 and a million people."

Egbe said that given the available evidence, government’s precautionary approach regarding the smoking ban was the right thing to do at the time.

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