Sunday, January 2, 2005
The $10 billion settlement between the various states and the tobacco industry prohibits tobacco advertising on matchbook covers, according to the Ohio Supreme Court.
The settlement had barred companies from advertising on "merchandise" except in adults-only environments. The tobacco companies, which had stopped advertising pending the outcome of the case, had argued that matchbooks ordinarily are given away with cigarette purchases. and were therefore not "merchandise."
The court disagreed. "Matchbooks are indisputably in the stream of commerce," the court said, "and once the plunge into that stream is made, the items remain merchandise. Metaphorically speaking, an item cannot enter the stream of commerce without getting wet." And wet matches are, well . . . .