An attempt in New York to ban advertising of ready-to-drink products such as Smirnoff Ice because it might encourage children to drink is likely to fail. because it breaks the right to free speech.

In its advance notice of the hearing, the city's Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse said: "Such advertising is believed to target young people by promoting alcoholic beverages that look and taste like soft drinks, and uses imagery that appeals particularly to youth."

However, the proposal is thought to be in contravention of a Supreme Court ruling last year, which ruled that free speech for adults could not be overturned to protect children.

The Association of National Advertisers said: "If there is a problem with kids and alcohol, you must deal with it by enforcing the laws that bar stores from selling alcohol to them."

The New York legislature is also considering passing a law, which would prohibit alcohol and tobacco ads within a mile of schools, churches, playgrounds and day nurseries.