Here is an idle thought I had this morning while walking in sub-freezing temperature. In my adult lifetime there have been two full scale public education campaigns aimed at getting everyone to alter his or her settled habits, and both, surprisingly, have been quite successful.
The first was the campaign to get people to use their seatbelts, and the second was the effort to get people to stop smoking. In both cases, it is instructive to compare old movies, especially black and white movies, with modern movies. In the old movies, everyone smokes, seemingly all the time, even in intimate love scenes. It really turns me off. In modern movies, almost nobody smokes. In old movies, gangsters drive away from a bank heist and cops jump in their cop cars and give chase, and no one buckles up. In modern movies, even when the lead’s life is at stake, she carefully puts on her seatbelt before speeding away.
In both cases, there has been backsliding, with young people both vaping and texting while driving. But I would never have thought that a conscious, deliberate public health campaign would have any effect at all.