They had challenged the country’s 2008 law amendments on tobacco advertising approved by Parliament.
The North Gauteng High Court, on Thursday, rejected Batsa’s request for the law to be interpreted in a manner that would allow the company to advertise to adult smokers on a one-on-one basis.
It also rejected an argument by Batsa that the legislation was unconstitutional if it did not allow such advertising. Dismissing Batsa’s application, Judge J Phatudi ruled ‘The ban on tobacco advertising was reasonable and justifiable in a democratic society.’
The Judge awarded costs to the government and the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) which had joined the case as a friend of the court.
According to the Medical Research Council, tobacco use causes 44 400 deaths every year in South Africa.
The Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) said that in South Africa about 23% of adults currently smoke cigarettes. ‘Reducing the incidence of smoking from 23% to 5% in the next three decades is possible but will require an intensification of tobacco control campaigns and education on the harmful effects,’ Cansa said in a statement.
In 2008, Parliament amended the Tobacco Products Control Act 1993, to outlaw the industry’s ‘secret smoking parties’, as well as techniques known as ‘viral’, ‘buzz’ or ‘guerrilla’ marketing used by the cigarette companies to target teens.
According to the NCAS the cigarette companies employed ‘sexy twenty somethings’ and sent them ‘with a carload of free cigarettes on a tour of the country’s pubs, universities and colleges where they encourage youngsters to sign up for the party scene of a lifetime’.
‘Any serious attempt to reduce smoking amongst youth had to stop these industry practices. In amending the law Parliament specifically stated it wished to close loopholes in the law, which the industry exploited to sponsor parties and events’, said Dr Yussuf Saloojee of the NCAS.