WATCH: Why this guy spent most of his salary on illicit smokes

People que for Covid screening before entering a bar in Melville. Photo: Tracy Stark.

IN PICS. Check out how the first weekend was. We took to the streets to find out just how happy some smokers and drinkers were at the return of both booze and smokes under Level 2.

The return of both alcohol and cigarettes, though welcomed by many, has brought forward a hair-raising reality, as law enforcement have now noted a spike in road accidents, with one accident, in particular, claiming the lives of three Tshwane metro police officers over the weekend – allegedly at the hands of a drunk driver.

While the return of cigarettes has not showed a worrying effect, since government lifted the ban last week, The Citizen spoke to a garage store operator who highlighted how the first week in the return of cigarettes was.

Minesh Bhika says he hopes to restock most brands, as the first week was a bit bumpy due to most orders not being delivered.

“People need their fix. During the lockdown when cigarettes were still prohibited, people were still smoking.”

He noted that a lot of cigarette smokers were brand conscious and would only opt for an alternative brand for a short time until they demanded their preferred brands and it was outlets who had to meet the demand.

While the garage owner welcomed the return, it was another smoker who lauded government’s lifting of the cigarette ban as it meant more reasonably priced smokes.

Nathan Cherry said illicit cigarettes almost crippled him financially as it took almost his entire salary, due to the overinflated prices.

“I’m just glad that cigarettes are back and I can smoke freely now.”

Criticising the ban he said government’s lifting thereof was clearly a lot easier on his pocket.


Retail outlets have now been permitted to sell both cigarettes and booze with special restrictions placed on alcohol sales.  Liquor may only be sold from Monday to Thursday. Licensed outlets may sell liquor on weekends, for on-site consumption if they, however, adhere to the 10 pm curfew.

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