, 2-20-19

The Marlboro Man may no longer ride on radio and television airwaves but his modern day equivalent, e-cigarette manufacturers, largely have free rein to place their commercials on broadcast stations.  Now one member of the Federal Communications Commission thinks the time has come for the agency and its federal counterparts to update the rules on how e-cigarette ads are viewed.

“As a commissioner at the FCC, I think it’s time for the agency to update its thinking about e-cigarette advertising and the public interest,” Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel said.   In an op-ed written for USA Today, Rosenworcel said the FCC could study the extent of advertising on the airwaves for e-cigarettes while the Federal Trade Commission examines what’s advertised online, as well as whether any of the ads are deceptive….

So far the only other commissioner to speak out about e-cigarettes has been Republican Brendan Carr, who has been skeptical about whether there’s a role for the FCC to play.  In a series of Twitter posts he’s said it’s alarming to think the agency’s public interest statute gives it the authority to wade into an advertising issue tied to public health concerns.

“Should the government censor speech it doesn’t like?   Of course not.  The FCC does not have a roving mandate to police speech in the name of the ‘public interest’,” Carr wrote in one post, adding in another, “Censoring lawful speech based on its content?  I’m with the First Amendment.  I’m a no.”  » Read More