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Federal and State Health Promotion Laws

Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act is a federal public health law aimed at empowering consumers with stability and flexibility of making informed choices. In this regard, the law provides the public with critical information prior making any choice related to the acquisition of healthcare services.


According to Harrington (2010), the law seeks to expand Medicaid coverage among the population by 138%. In this regard, the law expands insurance coverage from an individual to a family of four and people below the age of 65 (Harrington, 2010). The law advocates for the creation of health insurance programs that allow a large population to access healthcare services. Therefore, creation of public health insurance premium and cost-sharing credits are envisioned in the Affordable Care Act. The law discourages discrimination when providing health insurance coverage based on medical conditions, changing premiums, gender and social status. According to Harrington (2010), it is the objective of the law to ensure majority of the American population have health insurance cover by 2014. Affordable Care Act describes penalties for employers and insurers who do not provide health coverage to employees. In addition, the Affordable Care Act outlines the role of the federal government in funding and controlling health promotion programs.

The smoke-free air law

According to Hartsfield, Moulton & Mckie (2007), the smoke-free air law is a state legislation adopted by several states across America. The law is based on state-based tobacco control programs established by the Food and Drug Administration Act (Hartsfield, Moulton & Mckie, 2007).


The smoke-free Air Act is based on the fact that tobacco is environmentally dangerous and is considered as a health hazard to people. The goal of the law is to protect nonsmoking adults and children from tobacco smoke. Therefore, the implementation of the law is significant in promoting public health in several states. Depending on the state, the law explains its objectives, programs and mode of implementation. In addition, the smoke-free law explains the purpose of the same based on a brief description of health hazards findings that are associated with secondhand and third-hand smoke to the public. Moreover, the law outlines its intent especially the intervention expected from the state public health departments and agencies. The law defines and explains key terms associated with the same. For example, explanation of what is meant by public space, enclosed area, employer, nonsmokers, attached bars is crucial in understanding the law. Major provisions of the law in the majority of states prohibit smoking in enclosed public places. Smoking of tobacco in restaurants, bars and other socially congested places are banned in several states. In addition, the law prohibits employees against smoking at places of work. Other areas where smoking is prohibited by the law include enclosed residential facilities and outdoor environments. However, the law allows smoking of tobacco in private residences.

Nonetheless, smoking of tobacco within the vicinity of the children, adult nonsmokers and health care facilities is prohibited. The law has a set of provisions applicable to tobacco advertising. Nevertheless, the law is notable for its public education programs and penalties to defaulters of the regulations.

Social values and public policy justifications

The Affordable Care Act is consistent with the government’s role in promoting a healthy community. It is the moral obligation of the federal government to ensure that community members access quality healthcare regardless of social status. On the other hand, protection of vulnerable community members such as the children and adult nonsmokers is prerogative of the state government. It is within the social mandate of the state government to promote a healthy community as part of the public policy objectives.


Harrington, S. E. (2010). The health insurance reform debate. Journal of Risks & Insurance, 77(1), 5-38.

Hartsfield, D., Moulton, A. D & Mckie, K. L. (2007). A review of model public health laws. American Journal of Public Health, 97, S56-S61.

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