New Tobacco Advertising Limits Challenged in Federal Court


In June I predicted that the advertising restrictions imposed by the law that authorizes the FDA to regulate tobacco products will be overturned on First Amendment grounds. Yesterday R.J. Reynolds and several other tobacco companies filed a federal lawsuit that challenges the new rules, which include bans on tobacco-brand sponsorship of sporting or entertainment events, on outdoor advertising within 1,000 feet of a school or playground, and on the use of color or pictures in outdoor ads, indoor ads (except those in adult-only businesses), and print ads carried by publications with significant underage readerships. The suit also challenges the new, larger warning labels (which will cover the top half of the front and back on each package), arguing that they will leave too little space for manufacturers' speech, and the prohibition against discussing the relative risks of different tobacco products without the FDA's permission.

RJR's press release here (PDF).