In 1970, Congress passed a law that prohibited all advertisements for cigarettes in the media, effective January 2, 1971. On April 1 of the same year, President Richard Nixon signed a law that officially banned cigarette advertisements on television and radio. Nixon, an avid pipe smoker who consumed up to eight bowls a day, supported the legislation due to the increasing pressure from public health advocates. The tobacco industry agreed to end all cigarette advertising on radio and television by September 1970, according to Cullman. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Andrew Jackson owned tobacco plantations and used tobacco as snuff or smoked cigars.
Public health officials and consumers wanted more stringent warning labels on tobacco products and to ban their advertising on television and radio, where children could be easily exposed. The Supreme Court had previously ruled that product advertising that constitutes purely commercial advertising is not protected by the First Amendment. In the early 1970s, the struggle between the tobacco lobby and public health interests forced Congress to draft a law to regulate the industry. Special committees were convened to hear arguments from both parties. As a result, Congress passed the Public Health Tobacco Act of 1969 to regulate the advertising of tobacco products.