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Nixon L.,Public Health Institute | Nixon L.,Berkeley Media Studies Group | Mejia P.,Public Health Institute | Dorfman L.,Public Health Institute | And 5 more authors.
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2015

Zoning and other land-use policies are a promising but controversial strategy to improve community food environments. To understand how these policies are debated, we searched existing databases and the Internet and analyzed news coverage and legal documentation of efforts to restrict fast-food restaurants in 77 US communities in 2001 to 2013. Policies intended to improve community health were most often proposed in urban, racially diverse communities; policies proposed in small towns or majority-White communities aimed to protect community aesthetics or local businesses. Health-focused policies were subject to more criticism than other policies and were generally less successful. Our findings could inform the work of advocates interested in employing land-use policies to improve the food environment in their own communities.

Nixon L.,Public Health Institute | Mejia P.,Public Health Institute | Cheyne A.,Public Health Institute | Wilking C.,Public Health Advocacy Institute | And 2 more authors.
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2015

We investigated how industry claim-makers countered concerns about obesity and other nutrition-related diseases in newspaper coverage from 2000, the year before the US Surgeon General's Call to Action on obesity, through 2012. We found that the food and beverage industry evolved in its response. The defense arguments were made by trade associations, industry-funded nonprofit groups, and individual companies representing the packaged food industry, restaurants, and the nonalcoholic beverage industry. Individual companies used the news primarily to promote voluntary self-regulation, whereas trade associations and industry-supported nonprofit groups directly attacked potential government regulations. There was, however, a shift away from framing obesity as a personal issue toward an overall message that the food and beverage industry wants to be "part of the solution" to the public health crisis.

Cheyne A.,Public Health Institute | Dorfman L.,Public Health Institute | Daynard R.A.,Northeastern University | Mejia P.,Public Health Institute | Gottlieb M.,Public Health Advocacy Institute
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2014

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act exempted menthol from a flavoring additive ban, tasking the Tobacco Products Safety Advisory Committee to advise on the scientific evidence on menthol. To inform future tobacco control efforts, we examined the public debate from 2008 to 2011 over the exemption. Health advocates regularly warned of menthol's public health damages, but inconsistently invoked the health disparities borne by African American smokers. Tobacco industry spokespeople insisted that making menthol available put them on the side of African Americans' struggle for justice and enlisted civil rights groups to help them make that case. In future debates, public health must prioritize and invest in the leadership of communities most affected by health harms to ensure a strong, unrelenting voice in support of health equity.

Dorfman L.,Public Health Institute | Cheyne A.,Public Health Institute | Gottlieb M.A.,Public Health Advocacy Institute | Mejia P.,Public Health Institute | And 3 more authors.
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2014

Tobacco control's unparalleled success comes partly from advocates broadening the focus of responsibility beyond the smoker to include industry and government. To learn how this might apply to other issues, we examined how early tobacco control events were framed in news, legislative testimony, and internal tobacco industry documents. Early debate about tobaccois stunning for its absence of the personal responsibility rhetoric prominent today, focused instead on the health harms from cigarettes. The accountabilityofgovernment, rather than the industry or individual smokers, is mentioned often; solutions focused not on whether government had a responsibility to act, but on how to act. Tobacco lessons can guide advocates fighting the food and beverage industry, but must be reinterpreted in current political contexts.

Winickoff J.P.,American Academy of Pediatrics | Winickoff J.P.,Harvard University | McMillen R.,American Academy of Pediatrics | McMillen R.,Mississippi State University | And 3 more authors.
Tobacco Control | Year: 2016

Objectives The vast majority of tobacco users began before the age of 21. Raising the tobacco sales age to 21 has the potential to reduce tobacco use initiation and progression to regular smoking. Our objective was to assess the level of public support nationally for ‘Tobacco 21’ initiatives in the USA. Methods The Social Climate Survey of Tobacco Control, a cross-sectional dual-frame survey representing national probability samples of adults was administered in 2013. Respondents were asked to state their agreement level with, ‘The age to buy tobacco should be raised to 21.’ Results Of 3245 respondents, 70.5% support raising the age to buy tobacco to 21. The majority of adults in every demographic and smoking status category supported raising the tobacco sales age to 21. In multivariable analyses, support was highest among never smokers, females, African-Americans and older adults. Conclusions This national study demonstrates broad public support for raising the sales age of tobacco to 21 and will help facilitate wide dissemination of initiatives to increase the legal purchase age at national, state and local levels. Increasing public awareness about the susceptibility and rapid addiction of youth to nicotine may further increase public support for raising the tobacco sale age to 21. © 2016, BMJ Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

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