Ad Ban Ruling Gives Tobacco Hope

Opponents of limits on tobacco and alcohol advertising believe the overturning of Chicago’s outdoor ad ban may provide a powerful weapon for fighting similar legal battles in other cities.
Senior U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur last week ruled the city’s ban on outdoor tobacco and alcohol advertising “null, void and of no legal effect.” More importantly, perhaps, he labeled earlier rulings which let stand Baltimore’s ordinance limiting such outdoor ads “unpersuasive.”
Dan Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers in Washington, D.C., called Judge Shadur’s ruling “a very important cautionary signal” to other municipalities. The ANA has filed suit against a similar ordinance in New York City and said the Chicago ruling will be cited as precedent in the ANA’s efforts to overturn it. New York and other municipalities thought the Baltimore law “gave them a green light to follow suit. We think [the Shadur ruling] is at least a flashing yellow, if not a red light for such laws.”
An appeal by Chicago could lead to a showdown before the U.S. Supreme Court, said Phil Zisook, an attorney for the Federation of Advertising Industry Representatives, a coalition of outdoor advertising firms that had sued the city. “We welcome that and have no doubt our position would be affirmed,” he said.