The future of SA’s controversial cigarette sales ban — the only one of its type in the world — now lies firmly in the government’s hands, after two defeats in the legal campaign to have it overturned.

On Friday a full bench of the high court in Pretoria dismissed the first big legal challenge to the ban by the Free Trade and Independent Tobacco Association (Fita), after finding that there is a “rational connection” between the prohibition on tobacco sales and the government’s stated objective of using it to prevent overburdening SA’s already strained public health-care system...

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