Tobacco Control

In the wake of unassailable medical research proving tobacco’s lethal effects, tobacco control policies have proliferated. Tobacco exacts a staggering toll on the world population – not just in mortality (approximately 5 million deaths a year) but in billions of dollars in tobacco-related health care costs and expenditures due to active and passive smoking.  A clearer case for public health law and policy could not be made.  

U.S. legal and regulatory policies related to tobacco have included state and local laws prohibiting smoking in public places and workplaces, restrictions on the sale and marketing of tobacco products – particularly to children – and recent federal legislation giving the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco.  

In addition to legislation and regulation, tobacco control strategies have also included litigation.  Evidence of the tobacco industry’s long history of deception and suppression of information about the health hazards of its products has led to several waves of civil and class action lawsuits.  The legal decision in United States v. Philip Morris, the U.S. government’s monumental racketeering case against cigarette manufacturers, exposed the industry’s deceit and fraud in its marketing and manufacture of products over the years.  Findings from this decision, and other recent successful challenges to the tobacco industry, have spurred countries to join a global movement and ratify the world’s first health treaty to reduce and prevent tobacco use.

This section includes information on the most effective legal and policy measures that health leaders and policymakers can take to control the epidemic of tobacco use in the United States and abroad. Please note that all Tobacco Control Legal Consortium and WorkSHIFTS materials are available on this site and can be accessed on our Publications, Resources or Special Collection pages.

Check out our Tobacco Control resources!

For Other Related Topics:

Featured Publications

  Pricing Strategies - Tobacco Control Guide (2014)

A 32-page guide on how to implement policies that effectively raise the cost of tobacco products, such as excise tax increases, as well as other price-related policies and enforcement measures.  (Center for Public Health Systems Science at Washington University in St. Louis and Tobacco Control Legal Consortium)

  Policy Strategies - Tobacco Control Guide (2014)

A 32-page guide on how to work with the media, coalitions, decision makers, business owners, and communities to create smoke-free environments, increase the cost of tobacco products, and restrict access to tobacco products.  (Center for Public Health Systems Science at Washington University in St. Louis and Tobacco Control Legal Consortium)

  No-Smoking Policies in Condos: Working with Community Associations & Common Interest Communities

Date: 
Wed, 02/29/2012
Time: 
12:00PM

This webinar covers:

  Promoting Smoke-Free Policies for Public Housing

Date: 
Mon, 01/28/2013
Time: 
11:30AM

Supporting smoke-free policies for multi-unit public housing is a critical way to reduce health disparities among some of our most vulnerable citizens.  This webinar provided information on the public housing market and acquainted attendees with the terminology that is common in the affordable housing sector.  The presenters discussed recommendations on how to work with public housing authorities and also reviewed legal topics that should be considered when discussing smoke-free policies with public housing authorities. 

 Presenters:

  Palliative Care versus Harmful Exposure: Secondhand Medical Marijuana Smoke in Multi-Unit Housing

Date: 
Tue, 04/02/2013
Time: 
12:00PM

The number of states that have adopted statutes permitting the use of medical marijuana under certain circumstances continues to grow. Accompanying this growth is an increase in questions about how these laws affect smoke-free policies for multi-unit residential properties. This webinar reviewed the interplay between medical marijuana laws and policies addressing secondhand smoke. The discussion covered both private, market-rate properties and federally subsidized public housing and Section 8 properties.

  American Journal of Preventive Medicine Supplement: "Minnesota’s Investment in Applied Tobacco Control Research: Findings to Inform Practice and Policy" - November 2012

Public Health Law Center staff authored three articles in the November 2012 supplement to the peer-reviewed American Journal of Preventive Medicine.  The supplement featured eight articles from ClearWay Minnesota-funded research grantees, five articles from ClearWay Minnesota-funded research projects, a review article by two experts from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a commentary by Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  Policy Options for Combating Tobacco Industry Price Discounting

Date: 
Tue, 04/03/2012
Time: 
2:00PM

The webinar explains the public health importance of strategies to restrict tobacco price discounting, and it will outline the various options that state and local governments might consider in limiting tobacco price discounting, as well as the legal issues implicated by such policy options.

  Regulating Tobacco in the Retail Environment: Walking Through the Corner Store

Date: 
Tue, 03/06/2012
Time: 
12:00PM

This webinar discusses tobacco control policies that apply at the point-of-sale, using the perspective of a customer standing in the midst of a tobacco retailer’s store.  Concepts will include how tobacco products are placed, promoted and advertised within the store, the types of products available for sale, and where the store itself is located. The webinar will discuss both practical and legal issues associated with these policy options. 

  Regulating Non-Cigarette Tobacco Products More Effectively

Date: 
Wed, 11/02/2011
Time: 
12:00PM

Cigarette manufacturers and others are moving aggressively to develop, test, and market many non-cigarette commercial tobacco products, also called “other tobacco products” (OTPs).  This webinar provides a description of OTPs, including gaps in regulation, and emphasizes the important role state and local health departments can play in regulating these products. 

  Developing a Tobacco-free Campus Policy

Date: 
Wed, 12/21/2011
Time: 
12:00PM

This webinar provides insights of persons who work directly on tobacco-free campus policies for educational institutions, and is designed to assist organizations in creating effective campus-wide tobacco-free policies. 

  Policy Options for Restricting Tobacco Sampling and Couponing

Date: 
Tue, 02/07/2012
Time: 
12:00PM

This webinar discusses the impact that marketing strategies have on the price of tobacco products and the effects that price reductions have on consumption rates. It explains the importance of policies prohibiting tobacco sampling and limiting the distribution and redemption of tobacco coupons, and outlines various policy options that state and local governments might consider to limit these industry practices.

  Model Tobacco Licensing Ordinance - Minnesota (2010)

Public Health Law Center & League of Minnesota Cities Codification Service

PDF, 230.71 KB

  Policy Drafting Checklists (2010)
The purpose of the following checklists is to provide useful tools to assist in the policy drafting and review process. The first checklist contains the steps in policy planning and drafting. The second checklist contains the elements that should be included in a policy. The final checklist contains questions for review of the policy to ensure that it is effective and comprehensive. Not every item will be relevant to every policy, but all should be considered.