Friday November 28, 2014

Tobacco companies can’t be forced by FDA to use graphic warnings

A rule requiring tobacco companies to put graphic health warnings on cigarette packaging has been blocked by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon on the grounds that it blocks companies’ right to free speech.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration was blocked by a federal judge from requiring tobacco companies to put graphic health warnings on cigarette packaging,” Business Week reports. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon decreed on Wednesday that the federal government’s rule violates the tobacco companies’ rights to free speech. He wrote: “These mandatory graphic images violate the First Amendment by unconstitutionally compelling speech.” The warnings would have included such images as a corpse and cancerous lungs. “The FDA wanted to require tobacco companies beginning Sept. 22 to put one of the labels on each pack of cigarettes,” the publication notes, “pairing the images with text such as ‘Smoking can kill you.’”

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