April 3rd, 2012
Smoking area: Tobacco ad rules are nixed
Worcester Telegram and Gazette
Worcester’s proposed restrictions on tobacco advertising — rules that would have banned ads visible from streets, parks or schools — have been snuffed out. U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock ruled Saturday the restrictions violate the First Amendment.
The ruling won’t require any changes in behavior by retailers or any adjustment of enforcement efforts by the city, because Worcester had chosen not to enforce them, pending the outcome of the legal challenge, which was brought last year by three tobacco companies and the National Association of Tobacco Outlets.
While tobacco obviously takes a terrible toll on human health, this is clearly the right decision, and Worcester should forgo any appeal.