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?

Photo: nyc.gov

107 comments

Jeanne R
Jeanne R1 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R1 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R1 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R1 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R1 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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colleen p.
colleen p6 years ago

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.

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Owen E.
Owen E6 years ago

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

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Anubandh Srivastava

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

stop adulterated cold drink.
stop being guided my multinational monsters

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Borg Drone
Past Member 7 years ago

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

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neil a.
Neil A7 years ago

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.

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