NEW YORK, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- A New York judge has ruled against a city regulation requiring retailers to post "disgusting" anti-smoking ads near their tobacco products or cash registers.
Manhattan federal Judge Jed Rakoff said Wednesday mandating display of the "graphic, even gruesome images" is "forbidden" by a federal law regulating labeling and advertising of cigarettes, the New York Post reported.
"Even merchants of morbidity are entitled to the full protection of the law, for our sake as well as theirs," Rakoff wrote in his ruling.
The New York City Health Department adopted the law in 2009 and designed three posters urging people to "Quit Smoking Today."
The city had agreed to stay enforcement of the law after tobacco companies filed suit in June.
"Tobacco companies that are trying to prevent these messages from being seen should be ashamed of themselves," the Health Department said in a statement, adding that the city will appeal Rakoff's ruling.