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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Retailers can successfully defend their right to promote and sell cigarettes without unnecessary restrictions. That?s the lesson Iowa store owners learned last month when a federal appeals court sided with them in a suit the retailers had filed against the state.
The appellate court ruled that Iowa lawmakers cannot prohibit retailers from offering adult smokers tobacco promotions -- including discounts, coupons or free merchandise, such as cigarette lighters, caps or T-shirts --as purchase incentives.
In its ruling, the court upheld a lower court opinion that the Iowa ban on cigarette promotions violated the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act (FCLAA).
The FCLAA preempts states from putting promotional restrictions in place. "No requirement or prohibition based on smoking and health shall be imposed under State law with respect to the advertising or promotion of any cigarettes the packages of which are [properly labeled]" the measure says.