Since its inception in September 2010, the Network for Public Health Law has responded to hundreds of public health legal technical assistance claims from around the country. Based on a review of these data, a series of major trends in public health practice and the law are analyzed, including issues concerning: the Affordable Care Act, tobacco control, emergency legal preparedness, health information privacy, food policy, vaccination, drug overdose prevention, sports injury law, public health accreditation, and maternal breastfeeding. These and other (...) emerging themes in public health law demonstrate the essential role of law and practice in advancing the public's health. (shrink)
Television advertisements depicting the use of electronic cigarettes have recently exposed minors to images of smoking behaviors. While these advertisements are currently legal, existing laws should be interpreted or expanded to ban the commercial depiction of smoking behaviors with any product that resembles a cigarette to shield minors from potentially influential advertising.
Among multiple legal challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is the premise that PPACA's “individual mandate” (requiring all individuals to obtain health insurance by 2014 or face civil penalties) is inviolate of Congress' interstate commerce powers because Congress lacks the power to regulate commercial “inactivity.” Several courts initially considering this argument have rejected it, but federal district courts in Virginia and Florida have concurred, leading to numerous appeals and prospective review of the United States Supreme Court. (...) Despite creative arguments, the dispositive constitutional question is not whether Congress' interstate commerce power extends to commercial inactivity. Rather, it is whether Congress may regulate individual decisions with significant economic ramifications in the interests of protecting and promoting the public's health. This article offers a counter-interpretation of the scope of Congress' interstate commerce power to regulate in furtherance of the public's health. (shrink)