For many years, the Public Health Law Center has provided commercial tobacco control work under the name of its program, the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium. During this time, as our programs and priorities have grown and evolved, there has been some confusion in the public health community about our two names. To better represent how we do our work in 2019, we have decided to retire the Consortium name and brand.

Why are we making this change now?

Our core focus is health equity and justice.

We’re focusing on equity and justice in all of our work to become better partners at creating healthy communities for everyone. The Tobacco Control Legal Consortium name is a barrier to this effort, specifically in our Tribal work. It conveys a lack of understanding of the difference between “commercial tobacco” and “sacred tobacco.” Whether it’s working with Tribes on commercial tobacco issues, working with African-American public health groups on menthol, or preparing ourselves to work with other underrepresented groups on future projects, we want to use our collective power to rigorously strive towards equity and health equity.

We want to unify our brand and eliminate confusion.

We’ve been gradually phasing out the Consortium brand since 2016. The Public Health Law Center name is inclusive of all our program work, which includes legal and policy work in commercial tobacco control, healthy eating, physical activity, preemption, and more. With a staff of 30 law and policy professionals, we have significant capability to help our partners address the causes of chronic disease.

Our commercial tobacco control law and policy work continues nationwide.

We want to assure the public health community that the Public Health Law Center’s role in commercial tobacco control policy work nationwide is only getting stronger (our new work in the State of California is a good example). In addition to serving tobacco control advocates and professionals in 47 states, we will continue our role as the coordinating center for joint initiatives by the state-level legal centers working on tobacco control. This includes organizing amicus briefs in cases of national importance, submitting comments on federal regulation, and delivering the best possible legal support to advance health at the local, state, and federal levels.

Our capacity has never been greater. Our relationships with partners have never been more diverse. We hope that means we’re making a bigger impact than ever before. We look forward to working with you to improve health through the power of law and policy, because everyone deserves to be healthy.

If you have any questions, please let us know.


Joelle Lester
Director of Commercial Tobacco Control
Public Health Law Center

May 14, 2019