Comparative national public health legislation

Robyn Martin and Alexandra Lo Dak Wai

in Oxford Textbook of Public Health

Fifth edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780199218707
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199609673 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Comparative national public health legislation

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Law is an important tool in containment of communicable and non-communicable disease. International instruments require states to undertake measures which require legal underpinning. However, the meaning of ‘law’, and understandings of the extent to which the state can intervene in private life for the benefit of public health, differ across states. In some legal cultures, law is to be found in a form other than legislation, making difficult a comparison of state legislation. This chapter will examine limitations to a world comparison of public health legislation, and consider representative national laws from Western and Asian legal cultures in relation to three public health threats—communicable disease, tobacco harms, and obesity—to analyse ways in which law can play a part in global public health. The legislation discussed in the course of this chapter is that in force in December 2007.

Chapter.  17872 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Public Health

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