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Big Tobacco Says Anti-Smoking Ads Violate First Amendment Rights

Big Tobacco Says Anti-Smoking Ads Violate First Amendment Rights

It’s not easy to picture the big tobacco companies in the role of victim.

Philip Morris USA, Lorillard Inc., and RJ Reynolds Tobacco are suing New York City for violating their First Amendment rights by mandating anti-smoking advertisements, alleging that the city law restricts their ability to communicate about lawful products.

Reuters reported that the lawsuit reads, “The government may not force private parties to carry messages beyond purely uncontroversial factual statements that are designed to prevent consumer deception.”

The suit, filed Thursday, claims the regulation goes against U.S. Supreme Court rulings in other tobacco cases that federal labeling regulations prevent local governments, as in this case, from interfering with cigarette advertising.

The companies, along with state retail associations, want a court order to stop New York from enforcing the law.

The New York City Health Department developed the somewhat graphic anti-smoking signs and requires anyone selling cigarettes to consumers to display at least one poster near the cash register or the cigarettes or face a $2,000 fine.

The signs point to the harmful effects of smoking and include a helpline for people who want to quit.

New York City has already banned smoking in bars and restaurants. The Health Department is working hard to get its message out, and the graphic displays at point-of-purchase are just the latest weapon in the battle.

Warnings do serve to remind people of the dangers of smoking. Is NYC wrong to mandate that tobacco sellers warn customers of these health risks?

Is the tobacco industry trying to suppress important health information from potential customers, or is big tobacco the victim of unfair local practices?

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Photo: nyc.gov

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102 comments

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5:06AM PDT on Jul 5, 2011

wait? car exhaust is the same as ciggerate smoke? and hating smokers is like what happend years past with black people?

what if some people don't have many options if near some in a place where there are a lot. smokers moan they can't smoke in restaurants.restaurants and bars loose out when it is banned. they tell sensitive people "then don't go there, you know there are smokers"

then i can say a big "derpydoodles" if anyone gets offended by anything anyone says. If an angry CF person is for what ever reason near smokers, and it's wrong for them to be pissy, then I say "grow a thicker spine" if you won't like a rude joke, or read something I say on line that makes you cry.

well, we can also always punish parents with ill children if they drag them to the place. leave your kid with sitter if you want to visit your bartender friend, who works at a pub. the kid dosen't need 2nd smoke or the pizza the pub and pizzeria serves.

8:49PM PDT on Apr 7, 2011

Big Tobacco complaints about everything and now they are scared by ecigs - those battery operated smoking devices without tar and tobacco!

2:03PM PDT on Jul 4, 2010

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/its-enough-stop-cold-drink-now

stop adulterated cold drink.
stop being guided my multinational monsters

7:56AM PDT on Jul 1, 2010

I have quit for nearly a year but i have an inhalator to use instead.

10:16AM PDT on Jun 30, 2010

Smokers smell vile also their clothes & hair & any place they stay in. so tell them what you think & shame them into giving up this vile habit, smokers are weak & stupid. No merit in this action.

8:52AM PDT on Jun 30, 2010

Ugh - misunderstood poll question and answered wrong. I quit smoking 4 and 1/2 months ago and thought when I smoked then as I do now - free speech, while one may not like it, is opened up to stuff one may not want to hear.

8:52AM PDT on Jun 30, 2010

Rev Zak's post is full of misleading half-truths.
1. Smoking DOES cause lung cancer, though not in every smoker. No scientist ever claimed that. Medicine cannot establish the cause of an individual case, so they simply treat. If the victim smoked, the medical establishment doesn't assume anything. The cause of death is officially lung cancer. However, the process by which smoking transforms healthy cells into cancer cells has been observed in the laboratory and the probabilities have been established statistically. Since tiny, unobserved lung cancers can metastasize and cause other fatal cancers, some deaths from other cancers are caused by smoking or other carcinogens. But the original carcinogens cannot be identified at present.

2. Putting smokers into a garage and observing that no one dies that day is silly - cancers take years to develop. However, if one of the people in the garage is asthmatic, there is a possibility that, left there all day, that person MIGHT die from a serious asthma attack. People, especially children, do every year, and it is impossible to say in a specific instance whether it is because they were in an apartment with smokers for long periods of time. But the statistics show that this situation IS a risk factor for asthma and even death - something for parents to think about.

Zak asks, "should we ban cars?" We have attempted to lower auto emissions for good reason. Anyone who is keeping informed on the global warming situation co

1:49PM PDT on Jun 29, 2010

lol, wow!

8:02AM PDT on Jun 9, 2010

Okay I totally hate the Big Oil and Tobbaco company hint hint has anybody forgten aobut, two year old smoking.....

Iam non smoker even I think some of the laws our stupid...

Public health makes since no smoking in public places makes since ... Plus alot not all smokers litter......

More or less if a person has a alergy to peanuts and you our forcing them to breath or eat those eanuts that is a crime same if someone is being forced to breathe this stuff....

When children our envolved I think it should be against the law becuase there young and can not make that decision for them....

I think they should have those pictures. Like it is not going ot make a difference though....

10:56PM PDT on Jun 8, 2010

thanks.

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