Tobacco Control

You are here

In the wake of unassailable medical research proving commercial 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. 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 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.

The Tobacco Control Legal Consortium (TCLC), a program of the Public Health Law Center, supports tobacco control policy change and the tobacco control movement throughout the United States. The Consortium develops resources on the most effective legal and policy measures that health leaders and policymakers can use to control the epidemic of tobacco use in the United States and abroad.


Featured resources are below. Other relevant resources in right sidebar (desktop/tablet), or end of page (mobile).


U.S. E-Cigarette Regulations - 50 State Review (2017)

A 50-state survey (plus Washington, D.C.) of current state statutes pertaining to e-cigarette regulations in the following areas: definition of “tobacco product,” taxation, product packaging, youth access/other retail restrictions, and smoke-free air legislation.

A post-deeming world

State and Local Tobacco Regulation in a Post-Deeming World (2016)

On May 5, 2016, the FDA issued the final rule deeming all existing and future tobacco products to be subject to the agency’s jurisdiction. This fact sheet will identify the gaps left by the deeming regulation that can be filled at the state and local levels.

Tobacco 21

Raising the Minimum Legal Sale Age for Tobacco and Related Products - Tips and Tools (2016)

Basic information for state and local policymakers, advocates, and others on policy implications related to raising the minimum legal sale age for persons to whom tobacco products may be sold.