Police re-launch cigarette blitz

HARARE - Zimbabwean authorities are reportedly contemplating another blitz on vendors selling cigarette sticks

This comes after police and municipal authorities — in consultation with the ministry of Health — launched an operation from late last year to early 2014 to enforce compliance with statutory instrument (SI) 264 of 2002.

While national police spokesperson Charity Charamba was not immediately available for comment yesterday, industry insiders said “a more comprehensive and nationwide blitz was imminent” and it would include night-time raids.

“This enforcement will be targeted at all sources or channels peddling cigarette sticks or fags — an issue widely considered a contravention of the law and it will sweep through the vendor market as well as informal, and formal outlets,” they said.

The move, sources said, was a “direct response to indications that vendors and some outlets had relaxed by reverting to selling fags, in flagrant disregard of public health risks”.

While companies such as Savanna Tobacco (Savanna) and John Bredenkamp’s Breco were unlikely to be widely affected by the latest actions — as they had legally-compliant products through their flow-wrapped cigarettes — quite a number of cigarette manufacturers, including multinationals, would be affected.

As such, vendors selling non-compliant product face a double-tragedy as they also face pressure from a licensing point of view.

Apart from giving its vendors a legally-compliant product, companies such as Savanna have also provided over 1 200 vending licences to their key partners.

In addition to this, the Harare-based firm has also empowered its vendors with 50 motorbikes to ensure timeous deliveries of the product, in a market where sticks account for 60 percent-plus of all national cigarette sales.

According to information at hand, police have “beefed up their enforcement teams” and the operation will cover all major towns, including Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare.

In crafting the regulations about 14 years ago, David Parirenyatwa’s ministry had public health concerns such as diarrheal and other communicable diseases in mind, and a government source said “those acting in defiance of these issues would face the full wrath of the law”.

Comments (3)

Cigarettes smoking is a confirmed health hazard. I don't understand the sense in preventing its sale as sticks. Why not arrest people found smoking in public like other countries are doing? Secondary smokers are at a worse risk by involuntarily inhaling the fumes. Ban cigarette smoking just like other drugs have been illegalised.

tomasi ndofeni tohwi - 30 April 2014

The problem is not cigarette vending but the real source of the health risks like sources of drinking water. Stopping vending and faling to address drinking water problems will never address the health problem you claim are caused by selling cigarrettes. In South Africa every 5meters is a cigarette vender, but who has ever heard of people suffering from diarrheal?

Ziziharinanyanga - 30 April 2014

People's view https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GX4PSN-X-M

Tichafa - 1 May 2014

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.