Tobacco Companies File Lawsuit Over Graphic Cigarette Warning Labels

Five tobacco companies are suing the federal government over graphic cigarette warning labels that are scheduled to be on all packages by the fall of 2012. The manufacturers claim the labels violate First Amendment protections for commercial speech, The New York Times reports.

The new cigarette labels, mandated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), carry graphic images of the consequences of smoking, including diseased lungs and rotting teeth. The new 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.

“The government can require warnings which are straightforward and essentially uncontroversial, but they can’t require a cigarette pack to serve as a mini-billboard for the government’s antismoking campaign,” Floyd Abrams, a lawyer for one of the tobacco companies, Lorillard, told the newspaper.

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    Dan S

    August 21, 2011 at 11:11 PM

    So now will it be necessary to clarify in our constitution that corporations are not persons, just to be able to require effective labels to fight tobacco addiction? Apparently so.

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    August 19, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    The tobacco companies should have long ago sued the government for conspiracy, fraud and racketeering, for deliberately committing scientific fraud to falsely blame tobacco for diseases that are really caused by infection. Actually, the government should never have committed scientific fraud in the first place, but it was taken over by the American Cancer Society and its fellow travelers to serve their toptalitarian social engineering agenda. They’ve spent the last six decades brainwashing the public that the pseudo-science of lifestyle questionnaires, which was invented in Nazi Germany, is legitimate science, when it’s merely flagrant trickery to exploit the circumstance that poorer people are more likely to have been exposed to infection. The Nazis could hide behind the excuse of ignorance, while the Surgeon General CANNOT!

    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.

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    Kevin McCall, CDP

    August 17, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    Why not just, Federally and State, prosecute Big Tobacco for premeditated murder. I think it would be the real truth. They KNOW their product kills. End of story. While we are at it our trusted congress and our senate could draft bills and sign these bills making the production of tobacco products illegal. Why not just get the whole mess over with! Ya, I know the reasons but America’s citizenry must stand up and accept nothing less.

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