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Federal Judge Won’t Delay Order in Lawsuit Against Tobacco Industry

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A federal judge said this week she will not delay an order in a longstanding lawsuit against tobacco manufacturers while other courts decide newer cases that challenge graphic cigarette warning labels and restrictions on tobacco marketing.

The federal judge hearing the case, Gladys Kessler, ruled in 2006 that the tobacco industry had hidden the dangers of tobacco use for decades. Judge Kessler’s ruling included an order for “corrective” statements regarding the dangers of tobacco use. The government has asked to publicly file proposed “corrective” statements about the health hazards of tobacco use on behalf of the companies.

She was considering delaying the decision about what corrective statements should be included in the ads, where they must appear, and for how long, the Associated Press reports.

In November, Kessler asked the lawsuit parties for input on whether she should delay her decision until other lawsuits that challenged the new warning labels and marketing restrictions proposed by the Food and Drug Administration were resolved.

The Obama Administration appealed a ruling in November by a U.S. judge that tobacco companies do not have to put graphic warning labels on cigarette packages to show the dangers of smoking. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon granted tobacco companies a temporary injunction that blocked the requirement for the new labels.

The new cigarette labels are a result of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gave the FDA authority to regulate the content, marketing and sale of tobacco products.

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