“LADY BRACKNELL: Do you smoke?
JACK: Well, yes, I must admit I smoke.
LADY BRACKNELL: I am glad to hear it. A man should always have an occupation of some kind. There are far too many idle men in London as it is.”
From Oscar Wilde’s play Importance of being Earnest. So funny. I Can never forget this.
Smoking was so common in public, in parties in offices. Can’t believe it now. Former chief minister Sudhakar Naik used to smoke a pipe and Girilal Jain, TOI editor, used to smoke his pipe at edit conferences. I remember an IAS officer M.S. Palnitkar smoking a pipe on the dais at a formal function.
Smoking is taboo now in most places. The question is will the motor car become a taboo in the coming years because of the threat it poses to the environment.
Are cars the new tobacco , asks the heading of an article in the Journal of Public Health, Oxford.
It says :
Background: Public health must continually respond to new threats reflecting wider societal changes. Ecological public health recognizes the links between human health and global sustainability. We argue that these links are typified by the harms caused by dependence on private cars.
Methods: We present routine data and literature on the health impacts of private car use; the activities of the ‘car lobby’ and factors underpinning car dependence. We compare these with experience of tobacco.
Results: Private cars cause significant health harm. The impacts include physical inactivity, obesity, death and injury from crashes, cardio-respiratory disease from air pollution, noise, community severance and climate change. The car lobby resists measures that would restrict car use, using tactics similar to the tobacco industry. Decisions about location and design of neighborhoods have created environments that reinforce and reflect car dependence. Car ownership and use has greatly increased in recent decades and there is little public support for measures that would reduce this.
Vidyadhar Date is a senior journalist and author of a book concerned with road safety and the cause of public transport , cyclists and pedestrians.