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Aids denialism — the government’s refusal to acknowledge HIV as the cause of Aids, and as a result provide people with HIV with lifesaving antiretroviral (ARV) treatment — may have cost at least a third of a million South Africans their lives.

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Now lobbyists pushing for vaping as a way to help people quit smoking insist taxing e-cigarettes like traditional smokes is leading down a similar path.

The argument has been smouldering in different forms since 2018 when the health department announced its plans to regulate conventional cigarettes and next-generation products, such as vapes and heated-tobacco products, in the same way [...]