The murky political history of the cigarette offers a vantage point to locate current debates on the cigarette sale ban in SA under lockdown. It offers the opportunity to dispassionately unpack the puritanical, moral, industrial protectionist and scientific arguments that have been made by stakeholders who have sought to control the national Covid-19 narrative.

Cigarette consumer culture has revolutionised the tobacco industry and influenced global political and economic institutions for 10 decades. To date, tobacco sales have caused 100-million deaths globally. It is estimated in a World Health Organisation report that 1-billion more deaths will occur in the 20th century unless stringent tobacco control regulations are implemented...

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