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ChangeLab Solutions is a national nonprofit creating law and policy innovation for the common good.
Our tools, trainings, and one-on-one support help transform neighborhoods with laws and policies that make communities more livable, especially those with the fewest resources.
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SPOTLIGHT: Opportunities to Bike at Work
Ben Epperson’s fellow employees at the Knox County (TN) Health Department had developed a bad case of jealousy. Epperson, the department’s manager for the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities program, and his boss both lived close enough to work that they could bike to the office—that meant they could also ride those bikes to meetings and lunch appointments close by. Meanwhile, other employees were stuck using department vehicles or their own cars to get to their appointments.
Using some extra grant money, Epperson and his boss launched a bike-share program for the office. They came to ChangeLab Solutions for help implementing this program so it would be safe and legal for everyone. Participants have to sign a user agreement/waiver, and take a one-hour bike skills and maintenance course. About 10 percent of the department’s 300 employees have already taken advantage of the program, which was launched in 2012.
“In nice weather, tons of people are using the bikes who would never be able to ride their bikes to work,” Epperson said. “People who otherwise would go to meetings in their own cars or company cars are picking up a bike.”
Bike fleet policies are just one way to make communities more bikeable. Learn more about the policies that can help get people bicycling about town by checking out the following resources:
From Retail to Rentals: New and Updated Tobacco Control Resources
This summer, ChangeLab Solutions released an updated version of our tobacco retailer licensing model ordinance and supplementary “plug-ins,” which provide a range of customizable policy options. We developed this model ordinance to help cities and counties that want to require local tobacco retailer licensing. Licenses are one way to ensure compliance with local business standards, to reduce youth access to tobacco, and to limit the negative public health effects associated with tobacco use.
We also have updated resources for communities trying to reduce the negative effects of secondhand smoke where people live. Our model ordinance helps cities and counties limit exposure to secondhand smoke in multi-unit residences such as apartment buildings, condominium complexes, senior housing, and single resident occupancy hotels. Communities with rent control laws will be particularly interested in our new plug-in designed to protect existing tenants.
From the retail environment to rental housing, ChangeLab Solutions has resources for communities that want to improve local tobacco control policy! Contact us if you want to make changes in your jurisdiction.
Fruitful Funding for Healthy Food
Many communities are working with small food retailers, such as corner stores and convenience stores, to increase access to healthy food in neighborhoods without larger grocery stores. Healthy food retailer programs offer small store owners incentives, like free advertising and refrigerators, in exchange for selling fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods. While the purpose of these programs is equal access to healthy foods in underserved neighborhoods, they can also be considered marketing programs for healthy food industries, particularly the fruit and vegetable industry (also known as the specialty crop industry).
The federal Specialty Crop Block Grant program is a potential source of funding for healthy food retailer programs. It also provides an opportunity to collaborate with the specialty crop industry to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in underserved neighborhoods.
To learn more about this funding stream and how to tap into it, check out our new fact sheet, Fruitful Collaboration, written for anyone involved in the development or implementation of a healthy food retailer program. You can also download our background paper, Can the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Support Efforts to Bring Fruits and Vegetables into Small Food Retail Stores?, which describes the analysis that informed the fact sheet.
Turn "Pester-Power" Against The Food Industry
Recent years have seen an increase in the amount and type of marketing of unhealthful foods and beverages to children and teens. Many of these campaigns are designed to tap into pester-power: That relentless onslaught of pressure from a kid who has seen one of these compelling ads.
Some of these marketing campaigns may violate federal laws against deceptive or unfair practices. They may also violate industry’s own self-regulation principles.
Researchers and advocates can help limit the marketing of unhealthy foods to youth by referring examples of deceptive or unfair marketing to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC enforces federal laws against such marketing practices in all media, including television, radio, print, websites, mobile phones, and even word of mouth. Because the FTC has a small staff relative to its responsibilities, it relies on the public to bring violations to its attention.
For more information about how to report unfair and deceptive marketing, check out our new fact sheet, Putting a Stop to Misleading Marketing: How to Report Ads That Violate Industry Self-Regulatory Guidelines, and our recently updated fact sheet, Identifying and Reporting Unfair, Misleading, and Deceptive Ads and Marketing. Let’s turn pester-power back on the food and beverage companies, and demand responsible advertising.
E-Cigarette Regulation Resources Now Available!
As the popularity of electronic cigarettes skyrockets, communities have been increasingly concerned about the appeal of these products to minors, their potential for addiction, the likelihood that this new products will undermine existing tobacco control policy and cessation success, and the unknown risks to public health posed by e-cigarette vapor in places otherwise required to be smokefree.
Localities that already have local smokefree air and tobacco retailer licensing laws can explore amending those laws to regulate electronic smoking devices in precisely the same way as traditional products. Jurisdictions that don’t already have local laws in place can enact a stand-alone e-cigarette law.
To help jurisdictions address the problem of electronic cigarettes, ChangeLab Solutions just released our Model Ordinance Regulating Electronic Smoking Devices and a flow chart to help communities determine what strategy best fits their needs. We’ve also developed an accompanying checklist to highlight key policy options available in the ordinance.
ChangeLab Solutions Honors National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
President Barack Obama declared September 2013 National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and ChangeLab Solutions is honoring that proclamation by continuing to help communities across the country make it easier for children to live healthier lives.
When children have safe places to walk, bike and play in their communities—like parks, playgrounds and afterschool programs, they’re more likely to be active and less likely to be obese. It’s the same with healthy food: when communities have access to healthy affordable foods, families eat better. Even the best efforts to educate families to exercise more and eat better won’t work if their communities don’t support healthy lifestyles. Learn more today about our childhood obesity prevention work and the resources we offer!
We’re Looking For a Few Good Team Members!
Want to help promote the common good by making healthier choices easier for everyone? Check out ChangeLab Solutions’ current job openings to see if you or someone you know might be the right fit!
ChangeLab Solutions – formerly known as Public Health Law & Policy – is a national nonprofit creating law and policy innovation for the common good. We help transform neighborhoods, cities, and states with laws and policies that make communities more livable, especially for those with the fewest resources. For more information, contact us.