United States: Protecting Commercial Speech under the First Amendment

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The First Amendment to the US Constitution protects commercial speech from government interference. Commercial speech has been defined by the US Supreme Court as speech that proposes a commercial transaction, such as marketing and labeling. Companies that produce products associated with public health harms, such as alcohol, tobacco, and food, thus have a constitutional right to market these products to consumers. This article will examine the evolution of US law related to the protection of commercial speech, often at the expense of public health. It will then identify outstanding questions related to the commercial speech doctrine and the few remaining avenues available in the United States to regulate commercial speech including the use of government speech and addressing deceptive and misleading commercial speech.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-275
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Law, Medicine and Ethics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • Commercial Speech
  • Disclosure Requirements
  • Labeling
  • Marketing
  • The First Amendment
  • Warnings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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