Law is a tool that can be used to shape both private and government conduct so as to impact public health. There are at least seven different techniques of legal intervention, each of which has advantages and disadvantages. These techniques are: direct regulation through command and coercion; economic incentives to encourage private parties to behave in a particular way; indirect regulation through private enforcement such as tort law; altering the informational environment; directly providing services or infrastructure to the public; government acting as a "model citizen" with respect to its employees and facilities; and, inducing other levels of government to take appropriate steps.
Wendy C. Perdue et al., Legal Frameworks for Chronic Disease Prevention, 32 J.L. Med. & Ethics 35 (Supp. 2004).