AAF Government Report

March 23, 2012


Clark Rector Jr., Executive Vice President – Government Affairs

*Please note that as of October 14, 2011, the full AAF Government Report is available only to registered members of the AAF.

Below is a free preview of the report, including the lead story and associated links. To view the full report, you will need to visit the AAF Membership Site. If you have forgotten or do not know your AAF password, you may request a new one here. If you need additional help, please click here.



Advertising, Packaging Warnings Cleared by Circuit Court

On March 19, the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals largely upheld the constitutionality of provisions of the Tobacco Control Act requiring tobacco companies to place prominent graphic warnings on cigarette packaging and in advertising.  While there are some differences, the ruling in this case, Discount Tobacco City & Lottery v. U.S., is at odds with the recent permanent injunction issued by a U.S. District Judge in R.J. Reynolds v. U.S. which held that the graphic warnings are unconstitutional.

One aspect of the Discount Tobacco decision was favorable towards commercial speech rights.  It upheld the right of companies to use colors and images in advertising and on packaging, holding that the requirement for only black text on a white background was overbroad and unconstitutional.

The Discount Tobacco case was much wider in scope than R.J. Reynolds.  It also dealt with provisions of the law restricting such activities as sponsorships, merchandising and sampling.  These restrictions were also largely affirmed by the Court.  The challenge in R.J. Reynolds was to the specific graphic warnings issued by the Food and Drug Administration.  AAF filed an amicus brief in R.J. Reynolds.

The R.J. Reynolds case will be heard in the Washington appeals court in April.  Should the rulings continue to be in conflict, the issue may finally be settled in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Get the full report


AAF Government Report is available to all members of the AAF. If you are interested in receiving an e-mailed copy, please e-mail government@aaf.org

If you are interested in receiving AAF SmartBrief, an opt-in news service, please visit www.smartbrief.com/aaf. AAF SmartBrief condenses advertising industry news from dozens of media sources into a succinct, easy to read e-mail.

Go to the Government Affairs Main Page.