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6th Circuit Hears Free-Speech Challenge to Smoking Regs

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by Publius
Posted July 27, 2011, 12:21 PM

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog notes today that the 6th Circuit is hearing a challenge to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gives the Food and Drug Administration authority to restrict tobacco advertising and prevents tobacco companies from sponsoring certain events and from giving out free samples. Tobacco companies say that the law violates their right to free speech.

The Kentucky district court below held that the law did not violate the companies' free speech rights. Click here for the pdf of the district court's decision.

The brief on behalf of the tobacco companies argues that the only reason for the ban is to make it harder for the companies to sell cigarettes. The reply brief from the U.S. Department of Justice asserts that images in tobacco ads "seek() to distract potential users from the fact that tobacco products are lethal and addictive," and it states that the restrictions are necessary in order to prevent new customers from becoming hooked on the product.

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