Federal Communications Law Journal

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Publication Date


Publication Citation

51 Federal Communications Law Journal 263 (1998)


Both the United States and the countries that comprise the European Union have previously imposed limits on tobacco advertising. These restrictions prevent tobacco companies from advertising on broadcast television. Recently, the European Union adopted a new proposal that would expand restrictions by phasing out press and billboard advertisements, and prohibiting tobacco company sponsorship of sporting events. It seems certain that advertising interests in Europe will challenge the new proposal as a violation of freedom of expression. An analysis of the European Convention on Human Rights reveals that these challenges should ultimately succeed since the restriction on commercial speech is more restrictive than necessary and should be narrowed to allow truthful cigarette advertising targeted at adults. The situation should prove informative for the United States since the courts of the European Union and the United States have reached similar conclusions regarding limitations on commercial speech.