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Court Rejects Tobacco Ad Challenge

The Supreme Court yesterday rejected a challenge to New York City's stiff restrictions on most outdoor advertising on tobacco products and on certain indoor advertising visible from the street.

Acting without comment or recorded dissent, the justices denied a petition for review of a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the rules voted by the New York City Council and signed into law by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in 1998.

Trade associations representing advertisers, supermarkets and other retailers contended that federal labeling rules dating back to the surgeon general's initial warning of health hazards preempted local governments from imposing their own rules.

The justices also rejected a similar appeal of tobacco advertising restrictions in Chicago.

The New York ordinance applies to tobacco product advertising within 1,000 feet of a school, playground, day care center, arcade or youth center. The trade associations said the rules effectively prohibit tobacco advertising in most sections of the five boroughs.

The rules limit retail establishments to a sign saying simply that tobacco products are sold on the premises. The appeals court ruled that the restrictions were similar to zoning regulations, a traditionally local power unaffected by national regulations.


Gaylord Shaw, New York Newsday. April 18, 2000.

Copyright © 2000 Newsday. All rights reserved.