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FREE online training course – A framework for analyzing public policies

Constructing a Logic Model for a Healthy Public Policy: Why and How?
669 K

A Framework for Analyzing Public Policies – Practical Guide
643 K

Method for Synthesizing Knowledge About Public Policies
  323 K

What Works for Health: Policies and Programs that can Improve Health  - A directory of short descriptions of different public policies. Each summarizes the data about the policy's effectiveness and provides a few indications about its implementation and its impact on inequalities. On the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps site (USA).

Prevention Policy Directory. A regularly updated, searchable inventory of Canadian policies as well as legal instruments (legislation, regulations, codes). The Directory is on Cancerview Canada.

How can the health equity impact of universal policies be evaluated? Insights into approaches and next steps
6.26 MB. Milton, B., et al. (Eds.) (2011). On the site of the World Health Organization. 

Practitioner opinions on health promotion interventions that work: Opening the “black box” of a linear evidence-based approach. Kok, M., et al. (2012). Social Science and Medicine, 74, 715-723. doi:10.1016/j. socscimed.2011.11.021   Abstract on the site PubMed.

Assessing equity in systematic reviews: realising the recommendations of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health. Tugwell, P., et al. (2010). BMJ 2010; 341: bmj.c4739. On the site of the BMJ.

Real world reviews: A beginner's guide to undertaking systematic reviews of public health policy interventions. Bambra, C. (2009). Abstract available on the site the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. doi:10.1136/jech.2009.088740 

Conceptualizing and Combining Evidence for Health System Guidance.  By Lomas, J., et al. (2005). Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF). On the site of the CHSRF

Systematic reviews in social policy: To go foward, do we first need to look back? By Pearson, M. 2007. In Evidence & Policy : A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, 3 (4) pp. 505-526. Abstract on the site of ingentaConnect.

Florence Morestin

Example 4: Producing a Comparative Analysis of Federal Regulatory Options for E-Cigarettes in Canada
July 2018. Description.
An example presented by Suraj Chavda
Student, Master of Public Health, University of Alberta (degree completed in 2017)
Intern, Canadian Cancer Society (Summer 2015)

Context of use

The NCCHPP's framework was used for my capping project for my Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Management at the University of Alberta. The project's goal was to analyze four potential policy solutions for the Canadian federal government's e-cigarette regulation framework and to make an evidence-based recommendation.
The NCCHPP's framework (the Practical Guide) was provided to me by my political science professor, Dr. Kevin Wipf. This project was completed during my internship at the Canadian Cancer Society, under the guidance of Angeline Webb, Senior Policy Advisor at the Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta & Northwest Territory Division.

This analysis was done prior to the 2015 federal election. Up to that moment, little had been done yet to regulate e-cigarettes in Canada, thus there was a political need for this analysis. There were municipal and provincial movements to regulate e-cigarettes, but a federal stance had not been taken. Thus, there was a policy gap, as there were specific legal domains that fell within federal jurisdiction that needed to be addressed.

The primary source of the four e-cigarette policy options that I had analyzed was the 2015 House of Common's Standing Committee on Health report on e-cigarettes in Canada entitled, Vaping: Towards a Regulatory Framework for E-Cigarettes.

I applied the NCCHPP's framework to these four policy options and then I compared the analytical dimensions between the four options to determine which was the best recommendation. When comparing the outcomes I used a simple scoring system (+,++, +++) to rank the options. Translating the analytical dimensions to ascoring system was based on the pros and cons and I applied the score based on what I thought the major benefits and drawbacks were. I did not use any rigid translation criteria. Below is the results table of my analysis using the NCCHPP's framework from my capping project.

Assessment of Regulatory Frameworks using the NCCHPP's Framework



Unintended Effects




Tobacco Act  + +  + + + +  + +  + +
Medical Devices Regulations   + + +  + + + +  +  + +
Canada Consumer Product Safety Act   +  + + +  +  - - -  - -
New E-cigarette Policy (Recommended)  + + +  -  + + +  + + +  + + +

Adaptations made

I chose not to use the Equity analytical dimension in this analysis as the impact of e-cigarettes on vulnerable populations had not been discussed extensively in the literature thus it would not have contributed substantially to the analysis.

Data collection methods

A literature review was completed to serve as the scientific basis for many of the conclusions from the analysis. These papers were found by searching the literature from databases such as MEDLINE and PubMed. I used key terms such as “e-cigarettes”, “policy” and “tobacco renormalization” among many others. I also used grey literature, legislation in Canada (provincial and municipal) and position statements from other organizations to inform my analysis.

Lessons learned

The NCCHPP's framework is a practical tool that guided this analysis for real-world applications. It was not limited to specific policy theories and allowed the conclusions to be made logically rather than through subjective interpretation. The framework was multidimensional which fostered a well-rounded analysis. I find this framework gave my conclusions credibility. My analytical experience was limited before I used this framework. After this project, I feel I can confidently assess policies and their potential consequences.

My advice for public health colleagues who are considering using the NCCHPP's analytical framework would be to ensure you are using peer-reviewed evidence when doing so. It is acceptable in my opinion to use grey literature or other sources; however, peer-reviewed evidence will provide a stronger foundation for your arguments when applying this framework. Although I did not include equity in my analysis, I did justify it based on the current evidence.

Impact on public policies, programs and/or interventions

I presented my capping project at the National Conference on Tobacco or Health in Ottawa in 2016. It was very well received by the audience. My paper was submitted to a representative from Health Canada who was working formulating e-cigarette policies at the time. Currently legislation is in development that is in concordance with the main recommendations of my analysis. It should be noted, however, that I have not yet heard back from Health Canada as to whether they have used my analysis. My analysis was also shared with a policy representative at the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association.

To learn more:

Chavda, S. (2016). An analysis of federal regulatory options for e-cigarettes. ( 1.7 MB). Presentation made on March 1st, 2016 at the National Conference on Tobacco or Health [PowerPoint slides].


The production of the NCCHPP website has been made possible through a financial contribution from the Public Health Agency of Canada.