The government has banned the sale and importation of tobacco and it related products as the country forges its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the government gazette the importation or sale of tobacco or its related products has been prohibited during the state of public emergency.
Accordingly the person who contravenes this imposed regulation will be committing an offence as per the gazette announcement. The move was necessitated by the fact that COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that affects the lungs most and that tobacco will make the response to the virus difficult if necessary steps are not taken.
Also the announcement by the government followed a call by the Anti-Tobacco Network Botswana (ATN Botswana) executivedirector Professor Bontle Mbongwe to stop the sale of tobacco and its products as soon as possible to address increasing cases of COVID-19. According to ATN Botswana, they recognised that tobacco use was an immediate threat to control of the virus and its spread.
“Our urgent call to ban the sale of tobacco and its products during this time of public emergency is informed by scientific evidence that smoking damages human lungs and other body organs. Smoking also destroys the immune system hence weakening the smoker’s responsiveness to infections,” she said.