An American-Indian tribe in South Dakota has sued some of the world's biggest beer firms over severe alcohol-related issues in the community.Well, it should do as it's exactly how the long road to tobacco prohibition started.
The Oglala Sioux Tribe are asking for $500m (£316m) for healthcare, social services and child rehabilitation.
1954 saw the first litigation in America claiming tobacco companies to be liable for the effects of consumption. It failed, as many would in the following decades. The regular defence was that smoking is a personal choice and the harms are well known.
More recently, though, some cases have been more successful by advocating that the industry were aware that their products were addictive. And of course, once a substance is classified as addictive, personal choice can be discarded as a defence. The consumer doesn't choose to consume ... they are forced into it.
This appears to be the gist of the claim here. That booze was being sold near to vulnerable people, and therefore there was pressure to buy which caused alcohol-related illnesses. The ability of the individual to resist what they know to be harmful is dismissed.
I don't expect this case will be successful, but I wouldn't bet on there being a future alcohol Master Settlement Agreement on the distant horizon. And once that comes in, all hell will break loose for the drinks industry - they will be paying for their opponents to produce acres of junk science to prove alcohol causes every ailment from incontinence to ingrowing toenails, accompanied by recommendations for legislation which would regulate ethanol on the same severity as sulphuric acid.
The lawsuit, filed in the district court of Nebraska, targets Anheuser-Busch InBev Worldwide, SAB Miller, Molson Coors Brewing Company, MillerCoors LLC, and Pabst Brewing Company.Interestingly, most of those companies have seen this all before. They were closed down between 1919 and 1933 under America's period of prohibition. They must be thinking "here we go again".
The difference is that, this time, the anti-booze puritans have a ready-made litigious template as to how to topple a large and popular - albeit potentially unhealthy - industry. It will just take a decade or two to fully implement, that's all.
This is tobacco control's miserable legacy to the world. A future where humans are reduced to incompetent, unthinking lobby fodder, and where enjoyable products are incrementally denormalised and banned due to the self-righteous crusades of a few miserable obsessives.