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Government Won’t Fight for Graphic Cigarette Warning Labels

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The U.S. government will not fight for graphic warning labels on cigarette packages, and will instead create new anti-smoking ads, Reuters reports.

Attorney Generic Eric Holder notified House Speaker John Boehner that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will not push for labels that carry graphic images of the consequences of smoking, including diseased lungs and rotting teeth.

The new warning ads are required by the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gave the FDA authority to regulate the content, marketing and sale of tobacco products. The law states half the space on the front and back of each cigarette pack must contain anti-smoking warnings, and the images must take up to at least 20 percent of each cigarette ad.

Tobacco manufacturers sued the government, claiming the graphic warning labels violate First Amendment protections for commercial speech. In August 2012, a federal court struck down the graphic ad requirement, stating it was unconstitutional.

The Justice Department decided not to appeal to the Supreme Court.

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