TOBACCO: Brown & Williamson Sues New York Over Law
Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. last week filed suit in federal court against the state of New York over a new law that bans mail-order, telephone and Internet sales of cigarettes, AP/Nando Times reports. The New York law was passed earlier this year and is set to go into effect next month. The law bans sales practices that "make it easier for children to get cigarettes and for smokers to dodge the sales tax," according to legislators. But Brown & Williamson said the law "interferes with interstate commerce, and accuses the state of engaging in "impermissible economic protectionism at its most flagrant.'" David Remes, the tobacco giant's attorney, said the case is "the first of its kind in the country and has implications beyond" the tobacco industry. Remes added, "If all 50 states try to dictate their own rules for e-commerce, it will be difficult for e-commerce to flourish." Joseph Conway, spokesperson for Gov. George Pataki (R), said yesterday , "This law is an important public health measure that will help save lives by preventing young people from obtaining cigarettes illegally. We're confident that the law is constitutional and that the lawsuit will be unsuccessful," (Hays, AP/Nando Times, 10/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.