South Africa: 10 Reasons for Parents to Support Alcohol Sales Ban
President Cyril Ramaphosa declared an alcohol sales ban from the beginning of April along with other measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. Janet Gourand who is the founder of World Without Wine shares how the ban helps parents. Ms Gourand has compiled ten reasons for parents to support the alcohol sales ban.
Starting out as an experimental three weeks ban, the alcohol availability restrictions soon reaped many positive effects including reduced violence, trauma injuries and death as well as reduced road traffic accidents. The sales ban was then implemented throughout level 5 lockdown and continued when the country eased into level 4 lockdown.
There has been aggressive opposition from Big Alcohol but the government appears poised to maintain the apparently successful measure.
Since the alcohol sales ban, South Africa has seen a decreased death rate with about 2000 lives being saved in the first five weeks of lockdown. Comparatively in the United Kingdom (UK) alcohol was given ‘essential’ status and the UK has seen a 50% increase in alcohol sales which is likely to have severe public health consequences.
10 Reasons for Parents to Support Alcohol Sales Ban
Ms Goudard lists 10 reasons for parents to be supportive of the South African alcohol sales ban during the current public health crisis, with alcohol being it’s own epidemic in South Africa:
- 20% of alcohol users who consume alcohol only in social situations will become dependent on the substance. The sales ban is an opportunity to
access one’s own dependence on the substance.
- Alcohol weakens the immune system and compromises gut health. Alcohol also affects sleep negatively and sleep is important to boost the immune system. It is important to keep the immune system strong during the current pandemic as that gives the best chance of recovery if infected and also to reduce developing complications.
- The human body treats alcohol the same way as an infection because alcohol is a toxin. When alcohol enters the body the immune system fights against it. Binge alcohol use leads to an overdrive of the immune system. Then if COVID-19 is contracted the immune system will become overloaded which can cause a “Cytokine Storm” reducing chances of survival.
- During the COVID-19 lockdown parents are 24/7 parenting and homeschooling. Children observe all actions of parents and alcohol use to cope with challenges is a negative role model for children.
- Alcohol use poses significant health risks including cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and liver disease. The World Health Organization states the optimum for health is to avoid alcohol.
- The physical distancing measures and lack of normal routines during COVID-19 can be used as an opportunity to try the alcohol-free way of life.
- Alcohol negatively affects mental health. Alcohol is a depressant which worsens mood and increases anxiety.
- As normal routines of life from before COVID-19 do not exist anymore, a lot of time of parents has been freed up. Instead of using alcohol, this time can be spent more productively for both parents’ and children’s well-being.
- The reduced alcohol availability can be an opportunity to try alcohol-free beverages.
- Being grateful. Living an alcohol-free life frees up a lot of time which can be invested in better things such as joining the local Community Action Network to help the less fortunate.
For further reading:
“The Case for – and Obstacles to – Policy Action To Tackle South Africa’s Alcohol Burden”
by Aadielah Maker Diedericks