May 5, 2016

This week, the federal government and the state of California took major steps to strengthen tobacco control policy and improve public health. 

Marking a watershed moment, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today extended its authority to all tobacco products, including products the federal government has never regulated, such as e-cigarettes, cigars, and hookah tobacco. The new rule will prohibit tobacco retailers from selling these products to anyone under 18. Until this point, the federal government has not regulated the sale or use of e-cigarettes.

Meanwhile, last night, California Governor Jerry Brown signed some of the most important tobacco control bills the state has considered in years. The new regulations will raise the legal age for tobacco use from 18 to 21, further restrict tobacco use in workplaces, require all schools to be smokefree, and prohibit the use of e-cigarettes anywhere the state prohibits smoking.

These landmark state regulations will keep kids from being able to buy and use all types of tobacco products. They will also protect people from exposure to both secondhand smoke and secondhand aerosol by regulating e-cigarettes in the same way the state already regulates conventional tobacco products.

“These actions demonstrate a powerful political commitment to protecting community health,” said Marice Ashe, founder and CEO of ChangeLab Solutions. “I’m pleased to see the federal government finally exercising its legal authority, and I commend California for once again leading the nation on emerging tobacco control strategies. I certainly hope other states follow suit.”

ChangeLab Solutions has many tobacco control resources that can help communities regulate the sale and use of all tobacco products. We have begun updating our extensive library to reflect the new federal regulations and state legislation, but the process may take time, so stay tuned! In the meantime, California communities can contact our tobacco control team with questions related to the new laws and our existing materials.

Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart.

May 2, 2016

In communities across the country, residents are seeking safe, accessible, and affordable places for exercise and play. Shared use is a practical solution because it allows people to exercise and play at existing recreational facilities, such as playgrounds, walking trails, and gymnasiums.
Opportunities for activity with shared useAn adaptable, cost-effective strategy, shared use can promote physical activity, equity, and health. We have two new resources to help you accomplish your shared use goals:
  • The Benefits of Shared Use: Increasingly, communities are using shared use to create opportunities for both exercise and other activities, such as gardening, cooking, and community engagement. Our colorful infographic shows you where you can create community recreational space, and highlights the many broad benefits of shared use.

  • Updated Shared Use section of our website: We’ve reorganized our shared use resources, tools, and policies. Whether you’re new to shared use or an experienced shared use practitioner, this section will provide you with the tools you need.

Contact us for help developing the best shared use arrangement for your community!

April 25, 2016

In a presentation last week on the health effects of food and beverage marketing, ChangeLab Solutions’ senior staff attorney Sabrina Adler discussed viable policy options for addressing unhealthy marketing. Adler provided an analysis of the First Amendment and explained the policy landscape surrounding marketing regulations. She offered up key strategies for combating unhealthy marketing, which is pervasive and often targets kids.

April 13, 2016

A $485 million, three-year investment in community health and prevention policy may prevent thousands of premature deaths and save the nation billions, according to a report released this month.  
The report, published in Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy, examined the results of Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW), an initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It found the CPPW investment in prevention efforts could avert 14,000 premature deaths, $2.4 billion in discounted direct medical costs, and $9.5 billion in discounted lifetime and annual productivity losses between 2010 and 2020. 
Under CPPW, 50 communities received funds between 2010 and 2012 to make policy and environmental changes to reduce obesity, tobacco use, and exposure to secondhand smoke. ChangeLab Solutions played a major role in these interventions, and provided technical assistance to communities in more than half the states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico:
  • In Lexington, Kentucky, we helped public health professionals consider policy options for making corner stores healthier.
  • In New Mexico and Washington, DC, we provided advocates with information about opening up safe spaces for exercise and play. 
  • In Seattle, we helped create gender-specific swim hours at a public pool to encourage women who couldn’t swim around men to get exercise.
“I’m very proud of these results,” said Marice Ashe, founder and CEO of ChangeLab Solutions. “Our work reached every CPPW community in the nation, and that exposure has helped the public health workforce better meet the needs of the people and communities they serve.”
ChangeLab Solutions Board Member Bechara Choucair was Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health during the CPPW initiative, and his department received funds for tobacco control and obesity work. “I saw how transformative those grants were,” said Choucair, who is now Trinity Health’s Senior Vice President for Safety Net Transformation and Community Health. “To see this type of impact is so refreshing."
The findings underscore how large, sustained investments in disease prevention can have a tremendous impact on how well, and how long, people live. Contact us to learn how we can support your community’s efforts to promote health.

April 1, 2016

Health is one of our most precious resources. And now, as we celebrate National Public Health Week, we’re focused on what it takes to create the healthiest nation possible by 2030. But how do we make that vision a reality?

We need innovative laws and policies to build communities that are healthy, equitable, and resilient. Watch this short video to learn more!

Ready to get started? Check out our Health in All Policies toolkit to find out how public agencies can help create healthier places to live, work, and play.

When you’re ready to make the case and build support in your community, download our Health in All Policies presentation. Jurisdictions can take the next step with our model policies, designed to keep government entities committed to building the healthiest community possible.

Contact us for help making your community’s vision a reality.