Friday, July 16, 2010

airlines, fats, and tobacco

Not going to be the post you are imagining!

After several unusual and harrowing tarmac flight delays, regulation was proposed and then passed, which limits the amount of time a plane loaded with passengers can sit idle. In other words, people no longer have to worry about being essential prisoners of the airline. As the rules neared enactment, the airline industry warned of dire consequences for THEM and an increase in cancelled flights for us. It turns out, um, that it is not so bad really. The industry has adapted and consumers are relieved.

I mention this in the health blog because the exact same thing could be said with regard to the legislation to rid foods of TFAs, to lower salt in products, to ban smoking in restaurants and so forth. Industry groups panic. Examples I recall for the TFA initiative include frying capacity, shelf life, and taste. As it turned out – the technology was there and NO ONE misses the TFAs. The sodium content in foods has been lowered once already and I doubt a second round is going to devastate the processed food industry. We will adapt. Moreover, those restaurants forced to ban smoking have had a BOOST in sales, not a reduction. We can be a healthier society and companies can maintain financial health. People balk at change, but change is not always bad.

A current instance, for example, is health care reform. The new law includes a provision for free preventative care in all new health insurance plans. The insurance companies might cringe at the new upfront costs, but the benefit is going to be the money they save by reducing the incidence of chronic disease in their plan participants.

Oh and two more I just thought of – oldies but goodies; lead paint and asbestos.

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