Friday, 6 May 2022

Prohibition doesn't work - South African edition

Mark Petticrew and a few of his headbanging colleagues have written a little diatribe for the BMJ. The gist of it is that arguments and evidence they don't like are a form of 'pollution' and should be controlled as such. Or something like that. I don't recommend reading it as it is largely gibberish, but I was amused by this sentence...

Public health research and advocates were also framed as “nanny staters” or “prohibitionists”6 engaging in “class warfare.”7
The citation for the supposedly unfair claim that 'public health advocates' are prohibitionists is this article from Tobacco Control which literally calls for a total ban on the sale of cigarettes (the authors argue that if they call it 'abolition' rather than prohibition, they will throw the public off the scent).

Being prohibitionists, a number of people in the 'public health' racket got rather excited about the ban on tobacco and alcohol sales in South Africa during the 2020-21 lockdowns. They obviously saw it as a test case for their long term goals. 

The consequences of alcohol prohibition in South Africa were exactly what you might expect. Tobacco prohibition worked out in much the same way, as a new study has found:

South Africa temporarily banned the sale of tobacco as part of its COVID-19 response. Despite the ban, the sale of cigarettes did not cease; rather, it caused major disruption to the cigarette market. The ban inadvertently benefited manufacturers who were previously disproportionately involved in illicit activities; these manufacturers increased their market share even after the ban was lifted. The ban may have further entrenched South Africa's already large illicit market. Our results show that there are unintended consequences associated with a temporary ban on the sale of cigarettes.
You don't say!

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