A Different Kind of Tobacco Lawsuit
A few months ago we reported on new tobacco legislation, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This act makes it illegal to sell flavored cigarettes (except menthol), to advertise within 1,000ft of a school or playground, to have color ads in magazines whose readership is more than 15% minors, and regulates that the top 50% of cigarette packages be devoted to warnings. Altria, the parent of Philip Morris and the Marlboro brand, supports the legislation. It seems now that other companies do not. Yesterday several tobacco companies brought suit, claiming that the new law infringes on their first amendment rights. The companies say that the new restrictions on advertising make it very difficult to communicate with their customers, saying that even on the individual packages of cigarettes there is very little room left for company branding. Are the tobacco companies’ first amendment rights being infringed? To help you decide try taking a look at the law (linked above), the lawsuit, and the write-ups in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and our own Herald-Times.