Gregory Wagner, 72 Picture: Supplied
Gregory Wagner, 72 Picture: Supplied

‘Not smoking gave my dad a stroke’

By Venecia Valentine/Daily Voice Time of article published Jun 2, 2020

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Cape Town – An Athlone family believes the cigarette ban nearly killed their father.

They say Gregory Wagner, 72, had a stroke after not being able to smoke for a week.

Natasha de Jongh, 47, says her father suffered a severe stroke last Thursday, which left him lame and confused.

She claims a doctor at Groote Schuur Hospital blamed the stroke on her dad’s withdrawal anxiety.

“My daddy is a chain smoker, he smokes 10 cigarettes minimum per day. He can’t cope without a cigarette,” she says.

“Last week Thursday, he was throwing a tantrum about not having cigarettes due to the cigarette ban by the government.

“My daddy was frustrated and angry. He said he can’t cope without it anymore.

“Shortly after his rant, he just went quiet and then he fell.

“He had two seizures and I discovered he suffered a stroke after working himself up.”

She says her father was taken to Groote Schuur Hospital for treatment.

“My aunt called the doctor and we told the doctor that he has never been in hospital in his life.

“The doctor asked us if he smokes, we said yes, then the doctor said the stroke comes from stress due to not being able to smoke.

“My daddy has been smoking for nearly 60 years so it is a really tough time for him.

“He doesn’t have any illnesses and never wants to go to the doctor if he feels sick, he would self-medicate.”

Natasha says her 78-year-old mother is also a smoker and her parents are suffering.

“They pay R160 for a packet of cheap brand cigarettes but mostly can only afford to buy a loose entjie for R8 each.

“They are both pensioners and can’t afford to pay this much for a cigarette.”

Natasha says her father could have died and blames Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

“My problem is with Dlamini Zuma, my dad will come out of the hospital and never be the same, it’s because of her and what she did.

“This angers me, the cigarette ban must be lifted. Not everyone copes the same, this badly affects people who have been smoking for decades.

“I smoked for 30 years and it’s hard for me. How bad isn’t it for my daddy who has been smoking for 60 years?”

However, Groote Schuur Hospital spokesman Alaric Jacobs says otherwise: “The hospital can confirm that no doctor communicated to the family regarding Mr Wagner having a stroke due to having no cigarettes.”

Natasha says she’s not surprised at all: “No doctor will admit what was said especially if it’s going on the record.”

Daily Voice

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