The illicit trade in cigarettes in South Africa is now in full swing after the sale of tobacco was banned at the end of March as part of strict measures imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus, as the BBC’s Pumza Fihlani reports.Whereas once Michelle could go to her local shop in South Africa’s commercial hub, Johannesburg, to buy cigarettes she is now having to do a secret deal.The 29-year-old economist finds sellers through contacts in WhatsApp groups and arranges a covert meeting in order to get her nicotine fix. “Once you’ve found a seller you can trust, a meeting point or pick-up point is arranged,” she said.’No chance to stock up’Michelle, which is not her real name, is not the only one. What was perfectly legal two months ago has turned thousands of people into potential criminals.”No warning was given for the ban, so I personally wasn’t sufficiently prepared – either to get a stockpile or prepare to go without,” Michelle, who has been smoking for four years, told the BBC.Getty ImagesSmoking in South Africa37% of menaged 15 or over smoke8% of womenaged 15 or over smokeMost smokebetween one and nine cigarettes a daySmoking decreasedsince 1998$790m was raisedin government… Read full this story
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