Local governments often restrict advertising to improve aesthetics or safety. Restricting all advertising, regardless of content, is known as “content-neutral restriction.” This is usually within the authority of local governing bodies because it does not violate First Amendment protections of content, because as the name states it is content-neutral and does not restrict a specific product or company’s advertising. Some restrictions may include, the amount of space signs can fill or even the location they may be placed.
Studies have consistently shown a link between tobacco advertising and tobacco use. Most notably, the National Cancer Institute’s Tobacco Control Monograph concluded, “The total weight of evidence…demonstrates a causal relationship between tobacco advertising and promotion and increased tobacco use, as manifested by increased smoking initiation and increased per capita tobacco consumption in the population. Research has found that tobacco advertising is greater in stores most visited by youth. Youth are also more likely to smoke the brand of cigarette most heavily advertised in the tobacco retailer nearest their school. Furthermore, tobacco advertisements often show images that appeal to youth.