Philip Morris v. Harshbarger

This case involves a challenge to a Massachusetts statute requiring manufacturers of cigarettes to provide the Commonwealth's Department of Health (DOH) specific information regarding ingredients and nicotine yield ratings of their cigarettes.  The Plaintiff cigarette companies sued, arguing that the law was unconstitutional based upon the principle of preemption, arguing that any regulation requiring the reporting of tobacco ingredients was preempted by the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act (FCLAA).  The Court held that the FCLAA did not preempt the Massachusetts state statute, and that the Massachusetts statute was in harmony with the FCLAA. 


  • United States
  • Feb 7, 1997
  • United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts



  • Lorillard Tobacco Company
  • Philip Morris, Inc.
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company


  • David L. Mulligan, Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Health
  • L. Scott Harshbarger, Atty. Gen. of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Legislation Cited

Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act (as amended), 15 USC §§ 1331 - 1341

The "Supremacy Clause" of the United States Constitution (U.S. Const. art. VI. cl.2)

The Massachusetts Tobacco Ingredients and Nicotine Yield Act ("Disclosure Act" or Mass. Gen. Laws. CH. 94 Sec 307B (2000). )

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