Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco have sued New York over the anti-smoking ads that businesses selling tobacco products are required to display. The two cigarette manufacturers claim that the measure violates First Amendment rights. The ads carry graphic health warnings showing decaying teeth, brain damage caused by strokes and other images that don’t exactly encourage spending at the point of sale.
According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek:
“Through words and imagery, the signs urge consumers not to purchase plaintiffs products,” the cigarette makers said. “The mandated signs also restrict plaintiffs’ ability to communicate about lawful products with their adult customers.”
The tobacco manufacturers claim that the state’s law “contravenes more than four decades of exclusive federal regulation of cigarette health warnings” and violates the U.S. and New York state constitutions by “compelling them to undertake graphic advocacy on behalf of the City.”