Tobacco Control Legal Consortium

The Tobacco Control Legal Consortium is America’s award-winning legal network for tobacco control policy. Drawing on experts in its eight affiliated legal centers, the Consortium works to assist communities with tobacco law-related issues, ranging from smoke-free policies to tobacco control funding laws to regulation of flavored cigarettes. 

The Consortium’s team of legal and policy specialists provides legislative drafting and policy assistance to community leaders and public health organizations.  We are experts in designing, enacting and implementing laws that are evidence-based, workable, effective and legally sound.

We come to the aid of state and municipal attorneys with legal research and analysis when tobacco control laws are challenged, and write influential friend-of-the-court (amicus curiae) legal briefs in key tobacco cases before the highest courts of the nation. 

Cited by researchers in 2008 as a national model for delivering cost-effective legal services to public health departments, the Consortium has helped health leaders write and develop more than a hundred tobacco control laws across the U.S.  The Consortium received the 2004 National/Regional Collaboration Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Directors of Health Promotion and Education.

Major Funders


Affiliated Organizations 


ChangeLab Solutions

Marice Ashe, J.D., MPH, Director

ChangeLab Solutions, formerly known as Public Health Law & Policy, was founded in 1997.  Its tobacco control program focuses its efforts on policy change. The organization’s mission is to be a resource for communities that want to change their social environment through the adoption of local policies to reduce the availability of tobacco products, protect the public from exposure to secondhand smoke and to minimize the visibility of tobacco advertising in communities. This mission is achieved by providing help to tobacco control programs, city attorneys, county counsels, and others working on various tobacco-related policies.


Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy
University of Maryland School of Law

Kathleen Hoke, J.D., Director

The Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy, founded in 2001, is affiliated with the University of Maryland’s School of Law and receives funding from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Office of Health Promotion, Education and Tobacco Use Prevention through State MSA funds. The Center’s mission is to provide legal assistance to county and local governments and community groups on such issues as regulatory development and evaluation of policy strategies designed to reduce tobacco use.


Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI)
Northeastern University School of Law

Mark Gottlieb, J.D., Executive Director

PHAI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization housed at Northeastern University School of Law. With over 25 years of experience, PHAI receives funding from local, national and international organizations. PHAI attorneys provide legal assistance and education for local, state and federal lawmakers, and for non-governmental public health organizations. PHAI researches and promotes public health law to reduce the use of and exposure to tobacco products both throughout the world.


Smoke-Free Environments Law Project (SFELP)
The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc.

Jim Bergman, J.D., Director

The Smoke-Free Environments Law Project (SFELP), created in 1999, is a statewide project which provides information, legal research, consultation and advice for units of government, tobacco control and related groups, businesses and individuals of all ages in Michigan on policies and practices to protect people from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke and to address the legal requirements and liability issues related thereto. SFELP, funded largely by the Tobacco Section of the Michigan Department of Community Health, is a program of The Center for Social Gerontology Inc., which is a research, training and social policy organization focusing on issues which promote the individual autonomy and well-being of older persons.


Public Health Law Center

Doug Blanke, J.D., Director

The Public Health Law Center is a legal center at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minn. Created in 2000, the center provides legal technical assistance to Minnesota communities and helps union leaders address tobacco and health as an issue of workers’ health and safety. Other initiatives of the center include a report on the barriers to international tobacco litigation, policy analysis on regulation of Internet cigarette sales, legal research on the accessibility of tobacco industry documents, a study of youth access enforcement patterns, and analysis of tobacco industry documents, as well as regulation of secondhand smoke, workers’ rights, international regulation of tobacco and global litigation.

New Jersey

Tobacco Control Policy and Legal Resource Center
New Jersey GASP (Group Against Smoking Pollution)

Karen Blumenfeld, J.D., Executive Director

Through its Tobacco Control Policy and Legal Resource Center, New Jersey GASP provides counsel and legal information for litigation, regulation, and legislation. The center offers model ordinances, information about legislation in New Jersey and elsewhere, updates on tobacco-related litigation, as well as a searchable database of local laws. New Jersey GASP is a nonprofit advocacy organization that has worked since 1974 to create smoke-free workplaces, public places, and schools, as well as children’s home environments, particularly by helping to create local policy and legislation.

New York and Vermont

Public Health and Tobacco Policy Center

Ilana Knopf, J.D., Director

On January 1, 2010, New England Law | Boston opened its Center for Public Health and Tobacco Policy, a policy resource center for New York State’s tobacco control efforts.  Funded by a grant from the New York State Department of Health, the Center works with the Department of Health and communities around New York to develop policies to reduce the availability of tobacco products, protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke, and minimize or remove tobacco advertising.

Featured Publications

What is Legal Technical Assistance?

Overview of the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium’s core legal technical assistance:  substantive policy guidance;  legal research and analysis; litigation support; educational resources; and training.

The Legal Perspective: NCTOH Conference Sessions of Special Interest to Lawyers (2012)

Partial listing of sessions at 2012 National Conference on Tobacco or Health (Kansas City, Mo.) that might be of special interest to attorneys and other concerned about the legal dimensions of tobacco control.

Feedback from the Field (2011)

PDF, 412.81 KB
Comments from respondents to a 2011 survey of the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium’s legal technical assistance

Tobacco Control Legal Consortium's Legal Team (2014)

Short bios of the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium's team of legal professionals (2014)

Tobacco Control Legal Consortium Overview (2010)

Regulating Tobacco Marketing: A “Commercial Speech” Flowchart for State and Local Governments

A one-page flowchart, a companion to the two publications on "Regulating Tobacco Marketing: Commercial Speech", illustrates the ways courts might view a proposed tobacco marketing law should it ever be legally challenged.

Applying Tobacco Control Lessons to Obesity: Taxes and Other Pricing Strategies to Reduce Consumption

Exploration of the use of tobacco taxation as a legal public health intervention, the potential impact of increased taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, and parallels between dedicated revenue plans for tobacco taxes and the earmarking of sugar-sweetened beverage tax increases for obesity prevention. By Frank J. Chaloupka and Patricia A. Davidson (2010).

Legal Update Archive

A quarterly newsletter by the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium presenting information about key legal developments in tobacco control.

License to Kill?: Tobacco Retailer Licensing as an Effective Enforcement Tool

An examination of ways in which state and local officials can use licensure to enforce tobacco tax and point-of-sale laws and also control the location and concentration of tobacco retailers, providing overviews of innovative tobacco retailer licensing programs in California, New York and Massachusetts and describing creative ways in which licensing can be used to impose restrictions on the sale and promotion of tobacco products and promote responsible retailing. Ian McLaughlin, Tobacco Control Legal Consortium (2010).

Expanding the Field of Public Health Law and Redefining the Unacceptable

Kerry Cork, J.D.
PDF, 1.92 Mb

Smoke-Free Housing Is Legal & Good for Business & Health

March 17, 2010
PDF, 227 Kb

Regulating the Advertising and Promotion of Tobacco Products after the 2009 FDA Law Presentation

April 29, 2010
PDF, 5.54 Mb

Going Too Far? Exploring the Limits of Smoking Regulation Symposium Collection

Proceedings from the 2007 Tobacco Control Legal Consortium symposium published in the William Mitchell Law Review

Federal Regulation of Tobacco Collection

Fact sheets and other materials addressing complex legal issues raised by the new federal tobacco legislation.

Regulating Tobacco Marketing: “Commercial Speech” Guidelines for State and Local Governments

Overview of potential ways that state and local tobacco product marketing and promotion might be limited by the provisions of the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act or the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, describing key considerations to help governments avoid potential legal pitfalls and draft new tobacco marketing laws.

Regulating Tobacco Marketing: A “Commercial Speech” Factsheet for State and Local Governments

An overview of how courts analyze different laws restricting tobacco marketing and promotion, which includes guidelines to state and local governments for tailoring new laws to meet the requirements of the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act and the First Amendment, and a chart outlining legislation drafting tips.

Secondhand Smoke Seepage into Multi-Unit Affordable Housing

An overview of legal issues related to the adoption of smoke-free policies in public housing developments and project- and voucher-based section 8 housing, including the health and monetary benefits of providing smoke-free housing for these residents, and summarizing procedures that public housing authorities and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-assisted owners must follow to enact and enforce smoke-free policies. By Susan Schoenmarklin (2010)

The United States Government’s Racketeering Lawsuit against the Cigarette Industry

A background briefing on the historic U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit against leading domestic cigarette manufacturers, including basic allegations, important events during the trial, key testimony and the impact of possible outcomes. Mark Gottlieb, Edward Sweda, Jr. and Sara D. Guardino (2005).

Pick Your Poison: Responses to the Marketing and Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products

An examination of the legal approaches for addressing the marketing and sale of flavored tobacco products to youth. Kathleen Dachille (2009).

The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement: Enforcement of Marketing Restrictions

An overview of the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement's restrictions on tobacco product marketing, the MSA enforcement process, several MSA enforcement actions, and future challenges for enforcing MSA marketing restrictions. Dennis Eckhart (2004).

Public Health Policy for Internet Cigarette Retailers

An overview of the problems associated with Internet cigarette retailers and a description of the state and federal laws that can be used to address these problems. Christopher Banthin (2006).

The Americans with Disabilities Act: Effective Legal Protection Against Secondhand Smoke Exposure

A synopsis of the law describing when exposure to secondhand smoke qualifies as a disability under the ADA, the scope and constitutionality of Title I and II of the ADA, as well as remedies under the ADA for smoking-related discrimination. By Clifford E. Douglas (2004)

There is No Constitutional Right to Smoke

A 2005 publication explaining why smoking is not a constitutionally protected right. By Samantha K. Graff (2005)

Infiltration of Secondhand Smoke into Condominiums, Apartments and Other Multi-Unit Dwellings: 2009

An updated and revised version of our 2004 synopsis explaining the right of landlords, condominium associations and public housing authorities to prohibit smoking in individual units, solutions for private multi-unit dwellers suffering from secondhand smoke seepage, as well as enforcement issues, including proposed smoke-free language to include in a lease or condominium bylaws. By Susan Schoenmarklin (2009)

Legal Options for Condominium Owners Exposed to Secondhand Smoke

An overview of the problems of secondhand smoke seepage in condominiums and the legal and policy remedies available to condominium owners. By Susan Schoenmarklin.

Infiltration of Secondhand Smoke into Condominiums, Apartments and Other Multi-Unit Dwellings

A 2004 synopsis explaining the right of landlords, condominium associations and public housing authorities to prohibit smoking in individual units, solutions for private multi-unit dwellers suffering from secondhand smoke seepage, as well as enforcement issues, including proposed smoke-free language to include in a lease or condominium bylaws. Susan Schoenmarklin (2004)

Secondhand Smoke and Casinos

An overview of the benefits of establishing smoke-free casinos and the potential legal liability of employers who expose casino employees and customers to secondhand smoke. Micah Berman & Caris Post (2007)

Legal Authority to Regulate Smoking and Common Legal Threats and Challenges

A 2004 synopsis outlining governmental authority for regulating smoking and the legal doctrine of preemption, as well as legal challenges to smoke-free ordinances and legal authority of local regulatory bodies for passing smoke-free ordinances. Cheryl Sbarra (2004)

Legal Authority to Regulate Smoking and Common Threats and Challenges: 2009

A revised and updated version of our 2004 synopsis outlining governmental authority for regulating smoking and the legal doctrine of preemption, as well as legal challenges to smoke-free ordinances and legal authority of local regulatory bodies for passing smoke-free ordinances. By Cheryl Sbarra

Light Cigarette Lawsuits in the United States: 2007

An overview of light cigarette litigation, including a brief history of light cigarettes and their marketing, the role of litigation in tobacco control, light cigarette class actions and individual lawsuits, and federalism issues in light cigarette litigation. By Edward L. Sweda, Jr., Mark Gottlieb, and Christopher N. Banthin (2007).

Secondhand Smoke and the Family Courts: The Role of Smoke Exposure in Custody and Visitation Decisions

An overview of when and how family courts have considered a child's exposure to secondhand smoke when making custody and visitation decisions. By Kathleen Hoke Dachille and Kristine Callahan (2005).

Local Land Use Regulation for the Location and Operation of Tobacco Retailers

An overview of ways in which local land use regulations, such as zoning laws, might be used to control the location and operation of tobacco retailers.

Randolph Kline (2004)
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