SO Rishi Sunak is considering measures that would ban the next generation from ever being able to buy cigarettes. But caution needs to be exercised and lessons can be learned from previous attempts to ban alcohol.

A 2004 American study led by Angela Dills found that prohibition had “substantial short-term but little long-term impact”. Dills used drunkenness arrests as a proxy for alcohol consumption and stated that “arrests began declining before Prohibition took effect and and increased substantially during the first years of Prohibition”.

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And a 2016 Australian study led by Jan Roberts examined prohibition in indigenous communities, with some communities having a total ban and others having partial restrictions. Most participants stated that the ban had not reduced alcohol availability, that people were not drinking less, that binge drinking (attributed to increased availability of illicit alcohol) and cannabis use had increased.

Geoff Moore
Alness, Highland