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Freedom to Advertise Coalition Argues in Appellate Court That FDA Tobacco Advertising Rules Are Illegal

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the advertising industry argued to a federal appellate court that broad tobacco advertising restrictions issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) violate the law. Urging the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to affirm an earlier decision of a lower court, the advertising industry plaintiffs argued that Congress has given no authority to the FDA to regulate tobacco advertising.

"The FDA's tobacco advertising restrictions constitute the broadest commercial speech censorship in the history of the federal government," stated Hal Shoup of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. "We are confident that the advertising restrictions violate the law, as the lower court found in April, and that the Court of Appeals will affirm that correct decision," added Dick Blatt of the Point-of-Purchase Advertising Institute.

As the appellate court hears the issue of FDA's regulations, the Congress has begun to consider the proposed settlement between some tobacco companies and state attorneys general. But as George Cross of the Magazine Publishers of America stated, "Congress may not act to implement the tobacco settlement for months or years, if at all. The only current legal threat is the FDA's attempt to impost broad tobacco advertising restrictions. This law suit will determine how we do business for the foreseeable future."

Dan Jaffe of the Association of National Advertisers highlighted the constitutional implications: "The advertising industry respects the right of individual tobacco companies to make voluntary agreements concerning how they will advertise their products. But when the government, be it an agency like the FDA, or the Congress, imposes comprehensive advertising restrictions, the First Amendment prohibits government censorship."

The advertising plaintiffs in the law suit include the American Advertising Federation, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers, the Magazine Publishers of America, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, and the Point-of-Purchase Advertising Institute. Patton Boggs, L.L.P., a law firm based in Washington, D.C. with an office in Greensboro, North Carolina, represents the advertising plaintiffs. John L. Oberdorfer, a partner in the Washington office presented the earlier argument before the District Court in North Carolina and the argument today before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

SOURCE Freedom to Advertise Coalition
 -0- 08/11/97

/CONTACT: John Fithian of Patton Boggs, L.L.P., 202-457-5607; or John Kamp of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, 202-331-7345/

CO: American Association of Advertising Agencies; Freedom to Advertise

Coalition; Food and Drug Administration ST: District of Columbia, North Carolina IN: ADV TOB SU: LEG EXE

JO-JA -- DCM002 -- 1440 08/11/97 13:14 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 11, 1997
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