The Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) , as we are now known as, was founded in 1979 as the Clean Indoor Air Educational Foundation when our focus was primarily to protect the health of non-smokers from tobacco smoke exposure. In 1992, we changed our name to the Tobacco Control Resource Center to reflect our expanded research and advocacy focus on tobacco litigation as a public health strategy through our Tobacco Products Liability Project and broader efforts to use law and policy to reduce the public health impact of tobacco industry products.
By the beginning of the new millennium, our research and advocacy portfolio expanded to include legal approaches to prevent obesity as well as some work focusing on injury reduction. In 2006, we merged with our sibling organization, the Public Health Advocacy Institute, and adopted that name to better reflect our overall mission to improve the understanding, commitment and effectiveness of policymakers and lawyers in protecting the public health.
In 2014, PHAI initiated its most ambitious advocacy project: The Center for Public Health Litigation. This new Center uses the civil justice system to improve public health by focusing on litigation targeting tobacco industry products, unhealthy foods, deceptive health marketing, and deceptive gambling practices. The Center, which is essentially a public interest non-profit law firm, will consider any public health-focused litigation or, if necessary, help to defend public health measures.
PHAI brings its combined decades of experience in public health and law to bear on current issues in public health.