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December 12, 1966


JAMA. 1966;198(11):1208. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110240116040

The electrically powered automobile is on its way back from oblivion. The medical profession should take a more than casual interest in this development, for the health implications are real and important. Exhaust fumes from automobiles, buses, trucks, and motorcycles are a major contributor to smog. And smog, along with its other unwanted effects, is a serious hazard to health. On any day of heavy smog, preexistent lung disease, and perhaps some kinds of heart disease also, may be worsened. The long-term effects of breathing smog seem even more ominous, as evidence mounts that constituents of smog may be carcinogenic to man.

The state of California has pioneered in efforts to induce automobile manufacturers to reduce exhaust emanations from their vehicles—efforts which at last, with the help of a little compulsion, seem likely to be successful. But now an even more hopeful approach opens up. If fewer exhaust fumes are