Model Ordinance "Mini-Brief" Guides Cities in Banning Alcohol and Tobacco Billboards

From 1993 to 1996, investigators at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale School of Law, Carbondale, Ill., analyzed the issues in constitutional and federal law involved in prohibiting billboard advertising of tobacco products.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national program Tobacco Policy Research and Evaluation Program.

Key Findings

  • The study concluded that states and municipalities are on firm legal ground when they restrict the location or placement of publicly visible cigarette advertisements without attempting to regulate the advertisements' content or messages.
  • The project produced the "Safe Streets for Children, Tobacco Advertising Control Act," a model municipal ordinance based on the cigarette billboard ban enacted in Baltimore in 1994.

    The model ordinance is comprised of one page of legislative text and six pages setting out a legal and factual justification, creating a "mini-brief" that can be used by attorneys and health advocates in favor of a complete municipal prohibition of outdoor tobacco advertising.