EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Can we be precautionary with respect to all risks? A natural and health hazards perspective

Elena Raffetti1,2 and Giuliano Di Baldassarre1,2
Elena Raffetti and Giuliano Di Baldassarre
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 2Center of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science, Uppsala University, Sweden

Understanding how individuals perceive risk of natural and health hazards can help policymakers, scientists, and clinicians to communicate risks. We show that individuals (as well as communities and institutions) cannot apply the precautionary principle to all threats, and thus we challenge the binary categorizations of risk takers vs. risk avoidersTo illustrate, we compared how people perceive the risk associated with natural and biological hazards in relation to the main preventable health-related risk factor – i.e. tobacco smoking by analyzing the results of nationwide surveys carried out in Italy and Sweden in August 2021. In particular, we compared smokers and non-smokers considering two domains of risk perception (likelihood and individual impact) for seven threats (epidemic, climate change, floods, droughts, wildfires, earthquakes and air pollution). Preliminary results show that: i) the risk perception of some threats is higher in smokers compared to non-smokers; and ii) this difference is mainly observed in a permissive tobacco environment. These results and their implications show the importance of integrating multi-risk components into risk communication, along with promoting policies that simultaneously address health and natural risks.

How to cite: Raffetti, E. and Di Baldassarre, G.: Can we be precautionary with respect to all risks? A natural and health hazards perspective, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-11160,, 2023.