1971: Congress bans cigarette advertising on TV and Radio

Marlborough Man

In 1971, the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act made it illegal for tobacco companies to advertise cigarettes on television and radio.

The legislation was a massive hit to tobacco companies like Marlboro and Winston who had become accustomed to running TV and radio ads touting their cigarettes even as the public became increasingly concerned with the negative health effects associated with smoking.

Since the law was passed, tobacco companies have only become subject to more regulation when it comes to their advertising e orts. The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act prohibits tobacco companies from providing free samples of cigarettes and puts limitations on the color and design of packaging and advertisements. According to the United States Department of Health & Human Services, portions of this law are currently subject to litigation.

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