National Association of Tobacco Outlets, Inc., et al. v. City of Providence, Rhode Island, et al.

Various tobacco companies sought to prevent the implementation of ordinances passed by the City of Providence, Rhode Island to prohibit the sale of certain flavored non-cigarette tobacco products and certain price based promotions like “buy-two-get-one-free”. The court found that Providence’s restrictions are reasonable regulations of the sales of tobacco products and serve the city’s legitimate goal of reducing smoking and other tobacco use, especially among kids.  The court rejected arguments by tobacco companies that the ordinances violated their First Amendment rights or are also preempted by federal and state law.  Holding that, “Neither of the Ordinances at issue precludes the Plaintiffs from engaging in activities that can be considered ‘commercial speech’,” and “(t)he three provisions of the FSPTCA (Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act) constitute no impediment to the City’s prohibition against the sale of flavored tobacco products.”


National Association of Tobacco Outlets, Inc., et al. v. City of Providence, Rhode Island, et al., C.A. No. 12-96-ML (D.R.I. 2012).

  • United States
  • Dec 10, 2012
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island



  • American Snuff Company
  • Cigar Association of America, Inc.
  • John Middleton Company
  • Lorillard Tobacco Company
  • National Association of Tobacco Outlets, Inc.
  • Philip Morris USA, Inc.
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
  • U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Brands, Inc.
  • U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Manufacturing Company LLC


  • Angel Travers, Mayor of Providence
  • City of Providence, Rhode Island
  • Michael A. Solomon, Providence City Council President
  • Providence Board of Licenses
  • Providence Police Department
  • Steven M. Pare, Comissioner of Public Safety for the City of Providence

Legislation Cited

First Amendment

Fourteenth Amendment Due Process

Related Documents

Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product