Just 30 years ago, people could smoke anywhere, including offices, malls, and restaurants.
The 1987 opening of a New York City restaurant called "Nosmo King" (read it again) was considered a bizarre, if amusing, idea that restauranteurs said would bankrupt the place because no one would give up cigarettes to eat there.
Now, throughout much of the Western world, smoking in public is banned as a health hazard to everyone else who's exposed to secondhand smoke—including the wait staff in those restaurants.
Environmentalists have begun to raise the same issue on a global scale for the carbon dioxide emissions emitted by road vehicles with internal combustion engines.
Emissions of criteria pollutants actively harmful to humans (carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons) are now largely controlled, thanks to catalytic converters that were launched in the U.S. in 1975.
But climate scientists have long known that carbon-dioxide emissions from vehicles are a major contributor to climate change.
When will ads for cars with tailpipes be banned as health hazards?— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) August 7, 2017
Outright bans on cars with tailpipes are likely still a few decades in the future, but cigarette advertising was banned or severely limited in some areas before public smoking bans arrived.
We wondered if similar bans on advertising for cars with tailpipes might be a precursor, and we polled our Twitter followers on when they thought such bans could arrive.
The responses were split, with the "never" option received more votes (34 percent) than any of the other three choices.
But that number was closely followed by the 27 percent of followers who thought such a ban might arrive as soon as 2025.
A further 24 percent felt advertising for cars that emit carbon dioxide and other pollutants could arrive by 2035.
The final option, the year 2050, drew the fewest responses, just 15 percent.
It's widely expected that by 2025 or so, the price of battery-electric cars with 200 to 300 miles of range will fall to levels close to those of comparable vehicles with engines.
The cost of the vehicles with engines will have risen with the cost of increasingly complicated emission-control systems and other technologies to reduce cut consumption and carbon emissions.
Battery-electric cars are zero-emission, of course, and they get steadily lower-carbon as electric grids throughout the world add renewables and switch to natural gas from coal.
While one-third of our readers feel advertising for cars that emit carbon dioxide will never be banned, for the other two-thirds, it's apparently not a question of "if" but simply "when."
Green Car Reports respectfully reminds its readers that the scientific validity of climate change is not a topic for debate in our comments. We ask that any comments by climate-change denialists be flagged for moderation. Thank you in advance for helping us keep our comments on topic, civil, respectful, family-friendly, and fact-based.