Philadelphia Cannot Enforce Flavored Tobacco Ban, Under Federal Court Rules

Menthol cigarettes are displayed in a store in New York on March 30, 2010. REUTERS / Lucas Jackson

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  • 3rd Circuit Says Philadelphia Borders Preempted By State Law
  • FDA proposed to ban flavored cigars

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(Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Wednesday banned Philadelphia from enforcing a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products, a move to crack down on sales of cigars marketed with a candy taste.

The 3rd United States Court of Appeals sided with the Cigar Association of America and a group of cigar manufacturers, importers and distributors in finding that the 2019 order was preempted by the state law.

Sarah Peterson, spokesperson for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration, said the city is reviewing the decision.

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John Summers, cigar claimants’ attorney at Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, did not respond to a request for comment.

The ordinance was passed before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars in April, a long-awaited victory for anti-smoking groups that could wipe out a huge chunk of sales for the Big Tobacco.

The Philadelphia ordinance prohibited the sale of tobacco products with a characteristic flavor other than tobacco, including flavored cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

It included a narrow exception for tobacco distribution companies, defined as institutions closed to minors who derive most of their sales from tobacco products.

After the Cigar Association of America and three companies sued, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the measure, prompting the city to appeal.

The city argued that Pennsylvania’s laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to minors and anticipating any conflicting local ordinances did not prevent it from restricting where adults could legally purchase flavored cigars.

But U.S. circuit judge David Porter, writing for the three-judge panel, noted that the ordinance itself expressed concerns about youth access to tobacco products and that the city passed it as part of the order. of a comprehensive effort to combat this problem.

“Philadelphia found state action inadequate to deal with a problem and sought to impose its own additional demands,” Porter wrote. “The plain text of the pre-emption clause prohibits it from doing so.”

The case is Cigar Association of America et al v. City of Philadelphia et al, 3rd United States Court of Appeals, No. 20-3519.

For Philadelphia: Kelly Diffily of the Philadelphia Legal Department.

For the complainants: John Summer of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller.

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Menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars are banned in the United States

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Nate raymond

Nate Raymond reports to the federal judiciary and litigation. He can be reached at [email protected]

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