One in 10 smokers has been able to access cigarettes during the national lockdown, according to the results of a survey released by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC).
The survey, which was carried out between 7 April and 14 April and had over 19,000 respondents, was set out to understand what South Africans know about and how they are reacting to the Covid-19 emergency.
It found that cigarettes were more accessible than alcohol during the lockdown, according to Priscilla Reddy, extraordinary professor at the HSRC, in a presentation of the findings on Sunday.
The survey found that a quarter of the people from informal settlements were able to buy cigarettes during the lockdown, which implied that informal trade had continued in these areas.
With South Africa under lockdown since 27 March, the sale of tobacco products and liquor has been prohibited.
During his address to the nation last Thursday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that, under Level 4 of the risk-adjusted strategy to be implemented from May 1, the sale of cigarettes will be permitted.
The survey also found that South Africans have largely adhered to national lockdown regulations, with the results showing that 99% of respondents either left their homes for food, medicine and social grants or stayed at home.
However, many have taken financial strain during the lockdown period, with 55% of informal settlement residents reporting they had no money for food.
In addition, over 20% of people from informal settlements and rural areas said their chronic medication was inaccessible during the lockdown.