In an open letter to our government, Canada’s health professionals are telling key officials that fossil fuel advertising is fuelling a public health crisis, much like the tobacco industry did in years past. So, Isn’t time to ban fossil fuel ads the same way tobacco advertising is handled?
The Canadian Association of Physicians (CAPE) has officially released an open letter that calls on the Canadian government to ban advertising which promotes fossil fuels. A summary of the letter follows. Source: https://cape.ca/action/sign-on-to-stop-fossil-fuel-ads/
Fossil Fuel Advertising
We are writing to you because of our deep concern about the health impacts people are experiencing as a result of carbon pollution. We stand with over 700,000 health professionals in sharing a strong conviction of the need for limits on advertising of fossil fuels products and industries to address this public health crisis.
The burning of fossil fuels – coal, oil, and gas – is the major driver of climate change and the biggest contributor to poor air quality. Climate change and air pollution are interconnected urgent public health emergencies, negatively affecting the physical health, quality of life, mental health, and longevity of people in Canada.
As a new Health Canada report affirms, the health impacts of climate change related to rising temperatures and extreme heat, wildfires, and the expansion of zoonotic diseases into Canada are not just future concerns, but impacts already being experienced today. These impacts were exemplified by the nearly 600 people who lost their lives and many more who suffered from the climate change-fuelled heat dome and catastrophic flooding in British Columbia last year.
Given the scale of the health impacts already being felt, we urge the federal government to approach fossil fuel production and combustion with the same resolve, and the same tools, that were used to combat another public health crisis: the fight against tobacco. We urge the government to limit fossil fuel advertising in the same way that tobacco advertising is limited.
Fossil fuel marketing and promotion is harmful to human and planetary health in three key ways:
- Fossil fuel advertising creates demand for carbon intensive goods and services for which climate policies have clearly committed to curbing demand.
- Fossil fuel misinformation obstructs climate action.
- Fossil fuel advertising fails to disclose known health and environmental hazards.
In a tweet, Seth Klein of the Climate Emergency Unit points out one of many misleading ads and misinformation being propagated by the fossil fuel sector.
Did you know that a gas stove creates the same asthma risk for kids as living with a smoker? But we’re STILL told that “natural gas” is the safest option?
Join @CAPE_ACME’s campaign to demand Canada ban all fossil fuel ads
— Seth Klein (@SethDKlein) June 9, 2022
How Fossil Fuel Ads Make Us Sick
The #StopFossilFuelAds campaign highlights three ways the ads make us sick:
- Fossil fuel ads fail to inform us about the known health and environmental hazards of their products.
- Fossil fuel advertising undermines Canada’s climate commitments.
- Fossil fuel greenwashing obstructs climate action. (Source: Stop Fossil Fuel Ads campaign)
With public and planetary health as their utmost priority, and drawing on the success of tobacco regulation, health professionals are calling for:
- A comprehensive ban on advertising by fossil fuel industries, products, and services (such as gasoline and gas utilities) and internal combustion engine vehicles.
- A robust regulatory response to address misleading environmental claims by fossil fuel companies.
- Regulations mandating the disclosure of the health and environmental risks associated with fossil fuel production and use. (Source: Stop Fossil Fuel Ads campaign)
“Fossil fuel greenwashing is a massive problem that confuses Canadians and obstructs climate action,” said CAPE President-Elect Doctor Melissa Lem.
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