Public engagement with air quality data: using health behaviour change theory to support exposure-minimising behaviours

McCarron, Amy; Semple, Sean; Braban, Christine F. ORCID:; Swanson, Vivien; Gillespie, Colin; Price, Heather D.. 2023 Public engagement with air quality data: using health behaviour change theory to support exposure-minimising behaviours. Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, 33. 321-331.

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Exposure to air pollution prematurely kills 7 million people globally every year. Policy measures designed to reduce emissions of pollutants, improve ambient air and consequently reduce health impacts, can be effective, but are generally slow to generate change. Individual actions can therefore supplement policy measures and more immediately reduce people’s exposure to air pollution. Air quality indices (AQI) are used globally (though not universally) to translate complex air quality data into a single unitless metric, which can be paired with advice to encourage behaviour change. Here we explore, with reference to health behaviour theories, why these are frequently insufficient to instigate individual change. We examine the health behaviour theoretical steps linking air quality data with reduced air pollution exposure and (consequently) improved public health, arguing that a combination of more ‘personalised’ air quality data and greater public engagement with these data will together better support individual action. Based on this, we present a novel framework, which, when used to shape air quality interventions, has the potential to yield more effective and sustainable interventions to reduce individual exposures and thus reduce the global public health burden of air pollution.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Atmospheric Chemistry and Effects (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 1559-0631
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: air pollution, personal exposure, health studies, behaviour change
NORA Subject Terms: Health
Date made live: 28 Jun 2022 10:48 +0 (UTC)

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