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National Association of Tobacco Outlets v. City of New York

Tobacco companies and retailers sued New York City challenging an ordinance that prohibits the sale of tobacco below the stated price, such as through coupons or two-for-one offers. The court upheld the ordinance, ruling that it does not violate the tobacco companies’ or retailers’ free speech rights under the First Amendment and that it is not preempted by state or federal law. The court found that ordinance does not violate the First Amendment because it regulates an economic transaction – the sale of tobacco products below the listed price – not speech. Additionally, the ordinance is not preempted by the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act because it is a lawful restriction on the manner in which tobacco manufacturers and retailers advertise and promote their products and it does not regulate the content of cigarette advertising related to health warnings. Finally, the New York City ordinance is not preempted by state law because the state law relates only to the distribution of free tobacco products, not partially discounted tobacco products.