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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

NYU: Overcoming Preemption in Public Health

A commentary authored by Ms. Jennifer Pomeranz, Clinical Assistant Professor of Public Health Policy and Management at the New York University School of Global Public Health, was published by the American Journal of Public Health titled “Anticipating and Defeating Preemption Across Public Health.”

Preemption occurs when a higher level of government withdraws or limits the authority of a lower level of government to enact policy. In the United States, state legislatures have enacted preemptive legislation to limit local government’s ability to enact public health protections across policy domains. Preemption is thus a barrier to public health policymaking and undermines community self-determination and local democracy.

The only context in which public health stakeholders have regularly defeated and repealed preemptive legislation is tobacco control. Yet, the threat of preemption in tobacco control — as in all of public health — is far from over. This commentary provides an example of the nuanced nature of tobacco industry tactics identified by researchers, Drs. Eric Crosbie and Laura Schmidt, integrates their framework for responding to preemption with previous research, and encourages the public health community to adopt additional strategies to counter and repeal preemption. Although industry’s tactics are evolving, the need for advocates, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to join together to fight preemption has never been more straightforward. Given the political strength of industries supporting preemption, Drs. Crosbie and Schmidt aptly identified the benefits of a national network across public health to fight preemption.

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