Public health practitioners and tobacco control advocates agree that pre-emption (a higher level of government stripping lower levels of government of their authority over a specific subject matter) has an adverse impact on tobacco control efforts. Pre-emptive state laws may prohibit local tobacco control measures, such as restrictions on marketing and promotion of tobacco products, licensure of tobacco products, smoking in public or private sites, and on youth access to tobacco products. These laws prevent local governments from taking action to protect residents from the well-documented dangers of tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.
To raise awareness of the risks created by state pre-emption laws on tobacco control, the research team will examine the enactment or repeal of various tobacco control state pre-emption laws between 1997 and 2017 to determine whether these laws are associated with changes in the county-level smoking prevalence among adolescents and adults, as well as the sales of tobacco products. The team will also examine whether majority-minority counties are disproportionately impacted by state pre-emption laws, potentially exacerbating health disparities.