The US Supreme Court ruled that ads for tobacco-based products are a protected form of free speech on Wednesday.
The case, Tobacco Products Advertising and Marketing Free Speech Act v.
FTC, is the latest in a string of landmark court rulings on tobacco advertising and regulation.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday also ruled that the ban on cigarette ads in public schools is unconstitutional.
The case was brought by the tobacco industry and the US Justice Department and was decided in March of this year.
“The US Supreme court today ruled that it is constitutionally permissible to ban tobacco ads in schools.
This is a monumental victory for the American people, for American families, and for the health of our nation,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
A spokesperson for the Attorney General confirmed to The Independent that the Attorney Generals office had been notified of the ruling and was reviewing it.
“We are grateful to all the attorneys involved in the litigation for their hard work on this important issue,” said Lynch.
The case involved two cases filed in federal court in Washington, DC. In March, Tobacco Products Advertising Free Speech Amendment, et al. v.
United States, was brought by three tobacco industry groups.
The group said they are “gutted” by the ruling.
“In our brief we explained the basic concept of the First Amendment: that all Americans have a right to express their opinions about issues of public concern, and that free speech cannot be restricted unless it is accompanied by a restriction that is ‘necessary and proportionate’ to achieve that objective,” the group wrote.
“The Supreme Court’s ruling today reaffirms that basic principle.”
The tobacco industry argued that the tobacco ad ban was unconstitutional because it did not go far enough to prevent children from watching television and movies featuring tobacco products.
“It is not enough to tell people that you won’t see cigarettes in your school cafeteria, but that is not a reasonable expectation,” they wrote.
Toledo Independent School District spokesperson Ryan Jones said: “We welcome this victory and are grateful for the hard work of the legal team that has gone to work on behalf of us.”
In a statement, the Tulsa Independent School district said: “We welcome today’s decision in this case and look forward to continuing to work with the Department of Justice on the important issues at stake in this litigation.”