Do the interests of smokers as a group outweigh the health hazards of smoking? Not according to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), Times Live reports.
British American Tobacco of South Africa (Batsa) argued that it is prevented by law to promote and advertise tobacco products. This, Batsa said, hampers its right to "engage in commercial expression." In addition, the company said, "freedom of expression of tobacco consumers" is hampered by the law.
Batsa argued further that tobacco consumers were denied the right to receive information concerning tobacco products. It asked the court to rule that the prohibition did not apply to one-to-one communications between tobacco manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retailers, and "consenting adult tobacco consumers."
The SCA considered the rights of smokers to receive information concerning the tobacco product and the government's obligation to take steps to protect its citizens from the hazardous and damaging effects of tobacco. It found there were powerful public health considerations for a ban on advertising and promoting tobacco products, and that the seriousness of the hazards of smoking far outweighed the interests of smokers as a group. Dismissing Batsa's appeal, the court ruled that the prohibition on advertising and promotion of tobacco products was reasonable and justifiable as required by the Constitution, Times Live says.
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