A federal judge on Wednesday ruled against New York City’s use of graphic anti-smoking ads, saying that only the federal government can regulate smoking warnings.
“Even merchants of morbidity are entitled to the full protection of the law, for our sake as well as theirs,” said U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who issued the written decision.
The anti-smoking campaign would have required convenient stores to put up posters of decaying teeth or diseased lungs. Rakoff referenced the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act in the decision, the AP reports, which was enacted to give the federal government control in dealing with cigarette labels. Rakoff also said it was created to prevent “diverse, nonuniform and confusing cigarette labeling and advertising regulations.”
Here are the posters in question:
In November, we showed you a number of different — but equally graphic — ads proposed by the FDA for June 2011.
In a statement to TPM, New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said it is “disappointed in and strongly disagrees with yesterday’s ruling.”
We believe it is the City’s responsibility to help smokers quit and to protect children from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke. We remain committed to providing smokers with life-saving information about resources to overcome their addiction. Tobacco companies that are trying to prevent these messages from being seen should be ashamed of themselves.
The statement added that lawyers in the city’s Law Department plan to appeal yesterday’s decision.
Late Update: Kate O’Brien Ahlers, spokesperson for the New York City’s Law Department, told TPM that a “substantial number” of stores around the city have decided to keep the signs up on their own.
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com