Twenty-Five National Public Health Groups Show Support for New York City's Fight to Preserve its Point-of-Sale Graphic Signage Requirement

Aug 20, 2010, 12:39 ET from Legacy

Amicus Brief Filed Against Legal Challenge from Tobacco Industry

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Twenty-five leading public health organizations today announced that they have filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief supporting New York City's groundbreaking tobacco retail signage law against a challenge from the tobacco industry. The groups, ranging from the American Medical Association to the National Association of County and City Health Officials, to the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, all are committed to fighting for the good health of New Yorkers, by having anti-tobacco posters be displayed at retail outlets where tobacco products are sold.

In June of this year, three major tobacco companies – Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds and Lorillard – filed suit to block the New York City Board of Health's requirement that retail outlets post hard-hitting anti-tobacco posters where tobacco products are sold. The tobacco companies have asked the court to keep the New York City ordinance from taking effect, but the City has asked that the court issue a judgment so that anti-tobacco signage can be implemented without significant delay.

Research demonstrates that graphic anti-tobacco messages are a critically effective means of lowering tobacco use. They reduce intentions to smoke among youth, and promote intentions to quit among adults. The New York City program, based on successful campaigns in Canada, Australia and other nations, has the real potential to reduce tobacco consumption and save lives. With this requirement, New York City once again showed itself as a major and innovative public health leader in the United States.

Following overwhelming Federal verdicts of fraud and racketeering in 2006, which were upheld on appeal just last year, Big Tobacco has been trying to rehabilitate its image. However, the lawsuit brought against New York City's Board of Health again proves that tobacco companies are fighting as aggressively as ever against reasonable steps to prevent people from becoming addicted to their deadly products, and against reasonable efforts to help smokers quit.

"This filing reiterates how serious public health and policy leaders are about doing everything it takes to put an end to the hundreds of thousands of needless deaths from tobacco in this country every year," said

Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH, president and CEO of Legacy, the national public health foundation devoted to keeping young people from smoking and helping all smokers quit. "Tough warning signs like those being challenged in New York City are a proven-effective method that has the potential to dissuade smokers from buying tobacco products, and preventing non-smokers from making such purchases. Simply put, public health must always trump tobacco sales."

The groups that have signed on to the amicus curiae include:

American Legacy Foundation

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Cancer Society

ACS Cancer Action Network

American College of Preventive Medicine

American Lung Association

American Lung Association in New York

American Medical Association

American Public Health Association

Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Citizens' Commission to Protect the Truth

Coalition for LGBT Health

Faith United Against Tobacco

Lung Cancer Alliance

Massachusetts Association of Health Boards

Medical Society for the State of New York

National African American Tobacco Prevention Network

National Association of Chronic Disease Directors

National Association of County and City Health Officials

National Association of Local Boards of Health

National LGBT Tobacco Control Network

Oncology Nursing Society

Partnership for Prevention

Tobacco Control Legal Consortium. 

Legacy is dedicated to building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Located in Washington, D.C., the national public health organization helps American live longer, healthier lives. Legacy develops programs that address the health effects of tobacco use, especially among vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by the toll of tobacco, through grants, technical assistance and training, partnerships, youth activism, and counter-marketing and grassroots marketing campaigns. The foundation's programs include truth®, a national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as having contributed to significant declines in youth smoking; EX®, an innovative public health program designed to speak to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; and research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to reducing tobacco use. The American Legacy Foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. Visit

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Contact: Patricia McLaughlin