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Am J Public Health. 2002 Mar;92(3):356-9.

Tobacco, commercial speech, and libertarian values: the end of the line for restrictions on advertising?

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  • 1Program in the History and Ethics of Public Health and Medicine, Division of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 600 W 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA.


In June of 2001, the Supreme Court overturned a set of antitobacco measures adopted by the state of Massachusetts designed to protect young people from advertising. Once again, the court expressed its hostility toward measures designed to restrict commercial speech in the name of the social good. In so doing, the court underscored the enduring tension between the libertarian and social welfare dimensions of contemporary democracy and placed into relief the divisions within the American liberal tradition.

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