Big Tobacco Sues NYC, Claims Anti-Smoking Posters Are Unconstitutional

Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard are bankrolling a lawsuit that says that the graphic anti-smoking posters that the city now requires near cash registers are unconstitutional.

The posters have gruesome images of tooth decay and brains and all manner of unappetizing imagery.

From the Daily News:

“The city Health Department can’t describe its own health warnings,” said Philip Morris USA spokesman David Sutton, who said New York is the only place in the country that requires such warnings.

The suit was joined by two Queens stores and two retail groups including the state Association of Convenience Stores.

“Our customers are turned off by the signs – disgusted by them, nauseated by them,” said association president Jim Calvin.

“And these aren’t people who came in to buy tobacco. They came to buy milk or lottery tickets and were so turned off, vowed not to come back.”

A spokesperson for the city’s law department says they are confident the posters will stay, but this raises an interesting question…

Is it OK to force stores to subject non-smokers to disgusting, graphic images of tooth decay and diseased brains? Or does this place a burden on the non-smokers and the store owners?

Tobacco Control [NYC]
Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard sues city over posters, says they are unconstitutional [Daily News]