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They first time I flew was in 1968, when I was 18. A lot of people smoked on flights then, including me. The cabins were hazy, everything smelled of stale smoke, and it was a relief to get off the plane. Of course everyone smoked in the terminal too, not to mention bars, restaurants, and hotel rooms.
All this talk about air pollution conveniently forgets the stunning positive change set about by reducing the number of places where smoking was allowed. Massive price increases made a huge difference too. The result has been vastly improved air quality *where people are*, not thousands of feet up.
Getting motor vehicle exhaust cleaned up is another major accomplishment of the last few decades. Smoking tailpipes used to be common, and smelly, gasoline-rich fumes were the norm. Dense cities were getting unlivable because of them.
Cleaning up coal-burning furnaces was yet another.
We’ve picked the low-hanging fruit already, I think, with spectacular results. Just don’t forget that.
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