Supreme Court to hear tobacco ad case

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The U.S. Supreme Court today set the stage for a second major ruling on advertising this year, deciding to take a Massachusetts case involving restrictions on tobacco marketing.

The high court's decision to take the case in which Massachusetts attorney general Thomas Reilly imposed a list of curbs on tobacco marketing wasn't a total surprise since courts in New York and California have ruled opposite to Massachusetts on whether federal law preempts state regulation of tobacco ads.

The surprise, said advertising lawyers, was the court didn't just restrict the case to the preemption issue but also agreed to hear arguments on First Amendment advertising issues and guidelines that traditionally have defined when the government can regulate advertising.

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Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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