New York City's Department of Health's mandate asking all stores that sell cigarettes to display graphic anti-smoking ads near the cash register has been snuffed by a federal appeals court.
According to News York Post, the decision, which came as a blow to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said the city cannot supercede existing federal regulations on tobacco health warnings.
"It is nice when the city gets it in the end," Ralph Bombardier, executive director of the New York State Association of Service Stations, said.
"So many things the city does need to be challenged. Unfortunately, we can't afford it. This one victory we can enjoy," he added.
Trade groups for gas stations and convenience stores, along with the deep pocketed cigarette manufacturers Lorillard, Philip Morris USA and RJ Reynolds, had filed suit in 2010 after the Board of Health approved the rule in 2009.
The city had demanded all shops selling smokes display one of three ads, one showing an X-ray of a cancerous lung, another showing a decaying tooth or a third of a MRI depicting a stroke-damaged brain.
"Today's ruling is likely to reduce the number of smokers who quit. Despite huge strides in combating smoking in New York City, tobacco remains the city's number one killer," the Department of Health said in a statement.
"This suit has always been about who has the authority to regulate the content of cigarette warnings," Murray Garnick, a Philip Morris attorney, said.
"That is a power reserved to the federal government without interference or additional efforts by state and local authorities," he added.