Tobacco Companies Sue over Graphic Warning Labels

Thursday, August 18, 2011
Faced with putting graphic anti-smoking images on their packs and cartons, tobacco companies have filed suit to overturn the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new requirements on the marketing of cigarettes.
In June, the FDA issued the first major change to warning labels in more than a quarter century. The new rules included the mandate that tobacco companies print graphics on cigarette packaging that show such offputting images as discolored teeth and lungs and a man exhaling smoke through a tracheotomy opening in his neck.
Four of the five largest U.S. tobacco companies, led by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Lorillard Tobacco Co., sued the federal government, saying the warnings violate their free speech rights.
“Never before in the United States have producers of a lawful product been required to use their own packaging and advertising to convey an emotionally-charged government message urging adult consumers to shun their products,” the companies wrote in a brief filed in federal court in Washington.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who oversees the FDA, said in June that the warning labels were frank and honest about the dangers of smoking. Anti-tobacco advocates argue that the diseases caused by smoking add to the helath care expenses borne by taxpayers.
Big Tobacco lost a similar complaint last year in a Kentucky federal court when the judge ruled the companies could be forced to put graphic images and warnings covering the top half of cigarette packages by the fall of 2012. That ruling is now pending before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Tobacco Companies File Lawsuit Over Warning Labels (by Jeffrey Collins, Associated Press)
Cigarette Companies File 2nd Suit Over Warnings (by Duff Wilson, New York Times)
U.S. Releases Graphic Images to Deter Smokers (by Duff Wilson, New York Times)


Becky 12 years ago
smokers can give cancer to others just like car exhaust, chimneys, dryer vents, business building exhaust vents, and any other place that exhausts dangerous chemicals that can cause illness and cancer does....oh, but we won't go there because of course smoking is an addiction and has no health benefit. it's not like people are addicted to any other thing like driving their air polluting car 2 miles to the store to buy junk food, fast food, prepackaged food or processed foods for their kid rather than walking there as a family (reducing pollution) and battling obesity, dental disease, diabetes, blood pressure etc by buying from and supporting your local farmer and local economy who provides you with environmentally friendly grown salad goods with some fruit for dessert..yeah right. it's only smoking that is so terrible for others of course not anything else...that is necessity right? you need to drive everywhere, you need to buy soda, chips, candy, packaged or prepared foods, factory farmed goods, canned goods right, that is healthy for you, your child and your
Jack 12 years ago
the difference between smoking and other products you named is that smokers can give cancer to people around them. if i smoke around my children or neighbors i bring their health down with me. selfish.
Jack 12 years ago
the actions of the fda are over-the-top and unconstitutional. if this is allowed, how long before a package of twinkies has some horrifically obese guy jamming five winkies in his gaping maw? how long before a big-mac carton shows grampa laying there with a toe-tag? video games, computers, coffee, television, everything we do that doesn't comply with the foolishly held precepts of some guy at the fda will have ghastly images of mutilation, disease, and dissipation. don't worry. the fda will be throughly dismantled by president rick perry in about another year or so.

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