Can local government take further steps to prevent tobacco sponsorship?

There are several legal issues that make it difficult for local governments to pass additional laws limiting tobacco sponsorship and advertising. Federal law regulates advertising and warning label requirements regarding tobacco and health. The Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act (FCLAA) trumps, or “preempts,” state laws based on smoking and health with respect to the advertising or promotion of cigarettes.

An exception in the FCLAA allows for state or local restrictions on the “time, place, and manner, but not the content” of tobacco promotions. This exception, which was added by the 2009 Tobacco Control Act, is still untested—no court has yet determined exactly what it exempts. For more on this issue, contact us.

Although it is difficult for a community to pass laws addressing tobacco sponsorship, individual organizations and venues can adopt voluntary policies prohibiting tobacco sponsorship. PHLP has model policies to help sports arenas, colleges, and other organizations and venues prohibit tobacco sponsorship and advertising at their events:

Since most of these model policies involve strictly voluntary decisions by organizations, they are unlikely to raise legal questions or problems. If you have any questions, including how to adapt these policies for your organization, contact us.