New York blocked from enforcing new tobacco ordinance

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The City of New York today was temporarily blocked from enforcing a new tobacco ordinance that would remove most tobacco advertising.

U.S. District Court Judge Deborah Batts, responding to the city's unwillingness to further voluntarily delay enforcing the city ordinance, Nov. 9 issued a temporary restraining order blocking the ordinance from taking effect until she can decide issues raised by ad groups.

The ordinance would leave taxicabs as about the only place where tobacco advertising is allowed and has been challenged by advertising groups both as unconstitutional and as violating a law that gives the federal government the pre-emptive right to regulate tobacco.

The order became necessary after New York City, which had previously voluntarily put its ordinance on hold until Nov. 9, declined to voluntarily extend its moratorium.

Ad groups have filed a motion asking the judge to rule in their favor based on legal arguments and without testimony and hoped that the case would be decided before an extension or a restraining order would be necessary.

Copyright November 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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