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Tobacco Industry Asks for Temporary Injunction to Block New Graphic Cigarette Ads

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Tobacco manufacturers this week asked a federal judge to impose a temporary injunction to block the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) requirement that cigarette packs carry graphic images of the consequences of smoking, including diseased lungs and rotting teeth.

Justice Department attorney Mark Stern argued the graphic labels express the dangers of smoking more effectively than words alone. He told Judge Richard Leon the labels are needed to stop more people, especially teenagers, from smoking, according to Reuters. “The government’s interest here is not in preventing habits, it’s in preventing death,” Stern said.

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. The law requires the FDA to issue final regulations requiring color graphics illustrating the ugly consequences of smoking by June 22, 2011.

The FDA will require that the disturbing pictures cover at least half of the front and back of a cigarette package by October 2012. The FDA will also require that the images take up to at least 20 percent of each cigarette ad.

In August, five tobacco companies sued the federal government over the labels, claiming they violate First Amendment protections for commercial speech. Judge Leon said he hopes to have a ruling on the preliminary injunction by the end of October. Any decision is likely to be appealed, Reuters notes.

2 Responses to this article

  1. Carol / September 24, 2011 at 3:50 am

    The US Government is the criminal, for deliberately committing scientific fraud to falsely blame tobacco for diseases that are really caused by infection. For the government to commit fraud to deprive us of our liberties is automatically a violation of our Constitutional rights to the equal protection of the laws, just as much as if it purposely threw innocent people in prison. And for the government to spread lies about phony smoking dangers is terrorism, no different from calling in phony bomb threats. And all these crimes have been committed at the instigation of the American Cancer Society and its fellow travelers, to the detriment of the American people.

  2. maxwood / September 23, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Instead of the “graphic images”, it might be a bigger service to the public health to require cigarette marketers to include on the packaging (a) correct net weight of tobacco in each cigarette (usually 700 mg.) to be printed on the paper on the side of the cigarette in numerals at least as large as the lettering of the brand name usually seen there; (b) a diagram of, and information pertaining to a “one-hitter” or miniature pipe with a narrow, 5.5-mm-diameter screened crater permitting 25-mg single servings, to be printed on each pack in the same amount of space the ugly pictures would have occupied. Not that the companies would like this any better, but it is a positive step toward eliminating the hot burning overdose “cigarette” format which is the true cause of morbidity, not tobacco or nicotine per se.

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