As the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world in 2020, most countries imposed lockdowns, with varying degrees of regulation and varying degrees of success. SA was one of the very few that also imposed bans on the sale of tobacco and alcohol.

Chances are we will never see any evidence that either ban made much difference to the Covid-19 outcome. But there is now little doubt that the bans, particularly on tobacco, had a huge impact on the market, opening the space for illicit producers and distributors, which have survived and thrived. ..

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