Anti-Blackness and racism in America are a public health crisis that requires sweeping policy and systems change. We join the protesters here in Minnesota and across the world in calling for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Philando Castile, Jamar Clark and the many other Black people who have been murdered by law enforcement and others acting under the cloak of white supremacy in the United States.
The Public Health Law Center emphatically supports the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC) and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) as they sue the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its failure to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes. Read their announcement here.
In response to the e-cigarette epidemic and the vaping-related lung injury crisis, many local governments, states, and tribes have established sales prohibitions and emergency bans, and taken other actions removing these harmful products from the marketplace. Though federal action to do the same has moved at a near-glacial pace, federal regulators are now taking small steps to remove some e-cigarettes from the marketplace. Unfortunately, getting these products off the shelves is not the end of the public health response. That’s because once they can no longer be legally sold, they are likely to be considered hazardous waste under federal law. Therefore, retailers must comply with hazardous waste law when getting rid of unsold products when sales restrictions make their inventory unsellable.
On January 2, 2020, in response to two years of skyrocketing rates of youth use of e-cigarettes, the FDA took a small step to restrict e-cigarette sales. The FDA issued a guidance prohibiting all sales of cartridge-based e-cigarettes that are not flavored with menthol or tobacco, after a 30 day sell-off period.
Under federal law, able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) can receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for only 3 months in a 36-month period unless they meet specific work requirements. States can request waivers for areas with unemployment rates above 10% or that are deemed to lack sufficient jobs. Congress allows these waivers because economic conditions may hinder SNAP recipients’ ability to secure enough work hours to meet work requirements.
The Public Health Law Center held a reception at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis on August 27, 2019, during the National Conference on Tobacco or Health. At the event, Doug Blanke and Joelle Lester presented the 2019 Game Changer Award to four of our closest partners at the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, who have led the fight against menthol tobacco products.
Decades of scientific research unequivocally established that cigarette smoking causes numerous diseases and conditions, including lung and other cancers, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, erectile dysfunction, and premature/low birth-weight babies.
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.