US Supreme Court Issues Ruling in Rowe v NH Motor Transportation

February 20, 2008

Today the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling in Rowe vs. NH Motor Transport. The ruling strikes down provisions of a 2003 Maine law that required internet tobacco retailers to utilize carriers who take specific actions to ensure that packages containing tobacco products are not delivered to minors.

Attorney General Steve Rowe issued the following statement:

?Today?s decision is disappointing because it strikes down a law that prevents Maine children from buying cigarettes over the internet. Restricting access to tobacco products is one of the tools Maine has used to dramatically reduce youth smoking. Today?s decision has taken one of the State?s tools away and created a regulatory gap that will allow children to purchase cigarettes.

?The Maine law simply sought to ensure that children face the same barriers whether they try to purchase tobacco over the internet or in a brick and mortar store.

?In her concurring opinion, Justice Ginsberg referred to Maine?s law as a ?sensible enforcement strategy?. Although she concurred that Maine?s law was preempted by federal law, Justice Ginsberg stressed the need for Congress ?to act with care and dispatch to provide an effective solution.?

?This issue is now out of the courts and squarely in the laps of our federal Congress and President. I just hope that they have the courage to stand up to the tobacco and motor carrier industries and do what is right for the health of our nation?s children.

?Today?s decision is a loud and clear signal to Congress and the President to take immediate action to protect children from internet tobacco sales.?

Contact: David Loughran, 626-8577 February 20, 2008