The New York Times - The marketing and advertising restrictions in the tobacco law that Congress passed last week are likely to be challenged in court on free-speech grounds. But supporters of the legislation say they drafted the law carefully to comply with the First Amendment.
The law’s ban on outdoor advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds would effectively outlaw legal advertising in many cities, critics of the prohibition said. And restricting stores and many forms of print advertising to black-and-white text, as the law specifies, would interfere with legitimate communication to adults, tobacco companies and advertising groups said in letters to Congress and interviews over the last week.
The controversy, legal experts say, involves tension between the right of tobacco companies to communicate with adult smokers and the public interest in preventing young people from smoking.
Opponents of the new strictures, including the Association of National Advertisers and the American Civil Liberties Union, predict that federal courts will throw out the new marketing restrictions. They say, for example, a 2001 Supreme Court decision struck down a Massachusetts rule that had imposed a similar ban on advertising within 1,000 feet of schools.