Four A's fights FDA on tobacco restrictions

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The American Association of Advertising Agencies on Wednesday called the Food and Drug Administration's proposed tobacco advertising restrictions "a blatant attempt to use information control to manipulate lawful behavior." In comments filed with the FDA as the comment period for the proposed rules nears its end, the Four A's said the rules are nothing short of unconstitutional attempts to ban free speech.

"Under the guise of concern for children, the proposed advertising regulations effectively ban truthful commercial speech about tobacco," said Hal Shoup, exec VP.

He called the proposed ban "information control" that is "antithetical to the principles of the U.S. Constitution."

The FDA has proposed limiting tobacco advertising in most media to simple black-and-white text advertising, banning most giveaways of merchandise with tobacco insignias, barring of tobacco advertising images in sports, and bans on direct mail of tobacco products. The FDA also wants the tobacco industry to fund a TV campaign about the dangers of tobacco aimed at young people.

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