Journal of Public Health 2011, 33, 160-169 Douglas MJ, Watkins SJ, Gorman DR, Higgins M. https://academic.oup.com/jpubhealth/article/33/2/160/1591440
Though this publication is seven years old, it has been receiving much publicity recently owing to the strong words used recently by Dr Tedros, Director General of WHO
who stated that
The simple act of breathing is killing 7 million people a year and harming billions more, but ‘a smog of complacency pervades the planet’, says Dr Tedros Adhanom
Rita Nathawad reviews the paper here.
Are cars the new tobacco?
Tobacco control has relied on actions that target both behavioural and social structures. While the issue of tobacco use has often been described as an individual problem of physiologic dependence, further analysis reveals an interplay of complex political and societal factors. Similarly, this paper postulates that car dependence is also multifaceted and is rooted in many societal factors. Despite, both tobacco and cars posing significant threats to individual and global health and well-being; policies continue to strengthen these industries.
As we consider whether climate change could be halted through individual or political intervention, this paper provides insight into how both approaches are relevant to car use, if we are to save our planet. Car dependence is a detriment to our individual and global health as it affects our safety, walkable space, air quality, and social interactions. Despite the evidence of its ill effects, as tobacco lobbyists have falsified the known risks of tobacco, so have automotive industry lobbyists twisted the truth to promote cars, fuel and road development.
The parallels between the fight against tobacco and cars may provide insight into the actions we must take to tackle this issue. It will take significant work from the bottom up and top down to change car culture, but it is a fight worth fighting for the sake of our health and that of our planet.