Regulations Could Be More Effective Public Health Tool Than Bans, Global Health Law Expert Says In Opinion Piece
Science: Do bans help modern public health?
Lawrence O. Gostin, O’Neill Chair in Global Health Law and professor of medicine at Georgetown University, director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law Center, and director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law
“…There are no easy answers, but strict regulation of unsafe products is a more flexible tool to decrease behavioral risks, while avoiding social harms (a black market or discriminatory enforcement). Regulations are often more politically viable than bans … It is deceptively simple to criminalize a hazardous activity. But bans can create unforeseen social and political risks. The public does not support a government that tells individuals what they can or cannot do for their health. Yet government’s greatest responsibility is to safeguard the public’s health. It can do that through a well-regulated society — that is, with evidence-based interventions to ‘nudge’ the public to adopt healthier and safer behaviors” (1/17).