JUDGE blocks New York law banning Internet sales of cigarettes - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

JUDGE blocks New York law banning Internet sales of cigarettes

NEW YORK (AP) _ A federal judge has ruled that a state law banning online cigarette sales is unconstitutional, despite its ``commendable'' intentions.

U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska on Friday ordered a permanent halt to the law's enforcement after a five-day trial that ended April 30.

She had blocked enforcement of the law temporarily in November after a preliminary study of the arguments offered by Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. in a lawsuit in New York City.

``While the statute is a reasonable, indeed commendable, solution by a concerned governor and a responsive legislature to certain pressing problems facing New Yorkers, that is not the test imposed by the Constitution,'' she wrote.

Rhode Island enacted a law in November 2000 forcing merchants to obtain valid identification and signatures from customers buying cigarettes over the Internet.

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