In theweek which has followed the lifting of the ban of the sale of alcohol under Level 3 lockdown, there has been a rise, as was to be expected, in the number of domestic violence cases and physical assault cases which have included people being stabbed and beaten. Furthermore, there has been a rise in the number of motor vehicle accidents with people driving under the influence of alcohol.
The negative effect of alcohol on society as well as the healthcare system has always been an issue, even before the COVID-19 pandemic inflicted our country. The strain on our healthcare system is now even more problematic with our health-care system stretched as it is with treating and caring for those people infected with the coronavirus.
So the question is why was the government more inclined to lift the ban on alcohol before lifting the ban on the sale of tobacco under Level 3 lockdown? The effects of excessive alcohol consumption, both long term and short term are well documented. Excessive alcohol consumption causes lowered inhibitions, leading to poor social judgment, loss of critical judgement, mood swings and dulled perception to name but a few. Whilst nicotine is an addictive substance, and bad for our health, the consequences of smoking tobacco certainly do not outweigh the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption. We do not read in the news that society and the healthcare system have been inundated by “smokers” inflicting domestic violence, assaulting people or “smoking” under the influence!
Many citizens in South Africa cannot fathom the Government’s reasoning for the continued ban of the sale of tobacco whilst the sale of alcohol has been lifted. The reasoning doesn’t make sense and now society, and our healthcare system is left picking up the pieces of alcohol-related issues whilst trying their best to deal with a pandemic which is only set to rise.
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Author – Kate Bailey – Hill