June 16, 2016
ChangeLab Solutions celebrates a landmark decision in Philadelphia today to add a 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on the distribution of sugary drinks and diet drinks in the city. Philadelphia is the second city in the nation to pass a tax of this kind. It follows in the footsteps of several communities around the world, including Berkeley, California, where voters approved the first penny-per-ounce general tax on sugary drinks last November.
The Philadelphia City Council approved Mayor Jim Kenney’s tax proposal in spite of the opposition’s exorbitant spending to defeat it. The tax-generated revenue will be used to fund important local initiatives, including the expansion of pre-kindergarten and the improvement of parks, recreation centers, and libraries.
Sugary drinks are known to be the largest single contributor to added calories in American diets, and research continues to link sugary drink consumption to obesity and chronic disease. Emerging science suggests artificially sweetened, calorie-free drinks are also unhealthy. Many communities have considered imposing a tax on products such as soda and other sugary drinks to make those beverages less appealing to consumers and provide a dedicated source of revenue for public health programs.
“On any given day, roughly half of all Americans over age two drink at least one sugary beverage,” said Ian McLaughlin, senior staff attorney and program director at ChangeLab Solutions. “Measures like this one can help combat industry efforts to market unhealthy products to kids. It’s important that we make the healthy choice the easy choice for ourselves and our children.”
ChangeLab Solutions has developed numerous resources for communities interested in addressing sugary drinks. The Model California Ordinance Imposing a Business License Tax on Sales of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages is for public health advocates who would like to propose a local sugary drink tax. The Model Local Resolution Supporting a Statewide Excise Tax or Regulatory Fee on SSBs and the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Playbook are also valuable resources for policymakers and advocates.
June 15, 2016
ChangeLab Solutions is pleased to announce a partnership with Trinity Health as the system embarks on a new initiative targeting chronic disease in the communities they serve.
In February, Trinity Health, a leading Catholic health system with a presence in 22 states, announced programs that will result in the investment of about $80 million in grants, loans, community match dollars and services for six communities served by Trinity Health ministries over the next five years, and ChangeLab Solutions has been named a collaborating partner.
Partners in the initiative will work hand in hand with the six communities to create more opportunities for health in underserved neighborhoods, and lower healthcare costs. Efforts will be specifically focused on many of the root causes of poor health and on tobacco control and obesity prevention. ChangeLab Solutions will provide technical assistance to grantees, and will advise on related projects.
“We are proud to be associated with this effort to make communities healthier for all,” said Marice Ashe, CEO and founder of ChangeLab Solutions. “We expect to learn a lot as we work with the selected sites to discover ways in which hospitals can be key allies in the effort to not just treat disease, but also to prevent chronic health conditions caused by tobacco use and obesity.”
ChangeLab Solutions creates innovative laws and policies to ensure everyday health for all, whether that’s providing access to affordable, healthy food and beverages, creating safe opportunities for physical activity, or ensuring the freedom to enjoy smoke free air and clean water. Our solutions address all aspects of a just, vital and thriving community, like food, housing, child care, schools, transportation, public safety, jobs, and the environment.
Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 21 states with 92 hospitals, 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $15.9 billion and assets of $23.4 billion, the organization returns about $1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity Health employs about 95,000 full-time employees, including 3,900 employed physicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity Health is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services — ranked by number of visits — in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs. For more information, visit www.trinity-health.org. You can also follow @TrinityHealthMI on Twitter.
May 27, 2016
May 17, 2016
ChangeLab Solutions is celebrating a decision in San Francisco today supporting the addition of safety warnings to sugary drink advertisements. Judge Edward Chen denied the American Beverage Association’s request for an order blocking the city’s soda warnings law.
Judge Chen determined a label on advertisements alerting consumers to the health risks associated with consuming sugary drinks is permissible under the First Amendment. Prior to the ruling, ChangeLab Solutions, along with the American Heart Association, the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, and others, came out in support of the proposed warning label. In an amicus brief provided to Judge Chen, we offered invaluable evidence of the negative health effects of sugary drink consumption and supported the city’s legal arguments.
Requiring a safety warning on advertising or packaging for sugary drinks is one way to educate consumers and help them make informed choices. Warning labels on sugary drinks could discourage parents from purchasing sugary drinks for their kids, according to a study published earlier this year in Pediatrics. And according to a Field Research poll, 78 percent of California voters support a warning label on sugary drinks.
ChangeLab Solutions has developed Model Legislation Requiring a Safety Warning for Sugar-Sweetened Beverages for states that want to implement a policy requiring a safety warning on sugary drink containers and packaging. Contact us for more information about using safety warnings to help consumers make informed choices.
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.