Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has supported the recent banning of sales of cigarettes and alcohol during the lockdown, as they had a negative impact on the health of people who had tested positive for coronavirus. On Friday the Presidency turned down a request to lift the ban on alcohol sales during lockdown by the Gauteng Liquor Forum, which had threatened to turn to the courts. Now the lockdown embargo on the sale of cigarettes is set to be challenged.

So far, cigarettes and alcohol sales have been temporarily banned in the country to assist government in curbing the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Addressing the nation on Saturday, Mkhize firstly highlighted that smoking caused to one’s health.

“It is something we discourage. Once you have Covid-19 as an added infection, we believe that those who smoke are vulnerable because Covid-19 affects the capacity of the lung to be able to process the normal day-today exchange of gasses in the lungs.

“We discourage people from smoking. I still have to find a good beneficial action that the tobacco has in an individual. In general terms, we discourage people from smoking and more so with this Covid-19,” said Mkhize.

“We have been talking about active smoking and passive smoking. It induces so many conditions and other conditions which are related to pulmonary diseases, or chest-related symptoms.

“The problem with smoking is that it tends to affect the lining where people breath and creates some reactions. In some instances, it can provoke a reaction where someone’s lining is irritated and becomes easy to get infected,” he said.

He said smokers could also get bronchitis, and even tuberculosis.

“Beyond that, it affects the cardio-vascular system. Nicotine reduces flow of blood into the small blood vessels,” Mkhize said.