Tobacco Ad Restrictions Blocked
BOSTON (AP) - The tobacco industry, battling state regulations on tobacco advertising near schools, won a minor victory Wednesday when a federal appeals court blocked implementation of the new rules.
The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the regulations pending a ruling on the tobacco industry's appeal, said Henry Dinger, the Boston attorney representing Philip Morris.
Last week, U.S. District Judge William G. Young upheld the regulations that prohibit outward-facing ads inside stores for cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and cigars within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds.
But the tobacco industry has appealed, claiming that the ban, which was to go into effect on Tuesday, violates their free speech rights.
Dinger said the appeals court decision suggests ``the appeal has sufficient merit to maintain the status quo while the court resolves the issues.''
Timothy Shea, chief of the Massachusetts attorney general's public protection bureau, said he was optimistic that the appeals court eventually would rule in the state's favor.
``This is not a ruling on the merits at all,'' he said. ``We're confident the 1st Circuit will agree with the district court and agree with these regulations.''