News & Comment

US tobacco companies sue over graphic warning labels

Tuesday 16th August 2011, posted by forest

Five tobacco companies have sued the US Food and Drug Administration over a law that would force them to place graphic health warnings on cigarette packets.

In a 41-page complaint, the five companies – RJ Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard Tobacco, Commonwealth Brands, Liggett Group and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco – say the new labels would illegally force them to make consumers "depressed, discouraged and afraid" to buy their products.

"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 anti-smoking campaign," Floyd Abrams, a lawyer representing the cigarette makers, said in a statement.

He added that the new labels would violate the companies' free-speech rights under the first amendment to the constitution.
Cigarette makers lost a similar suit last year in a US district court in Kentucky when a judge said the FDA could move ahead with forcing the companies to use the new labels, which include images of dead bodies, diseased lungs and rotten teeth.

Source: BBC News (16 August 2011)


Mary Eldredge
Posted on
I am so happy to hear about this lawsuit. The anti smoking campaigners really made me sick with this idea. It is so mean, so mean spirited, so bullying, so ugly...and of course so dictatorial. But this campaign is so irrational an infection that I cannot build up much hope for a successful outcome.
Patrick Kieran
Posted on
Most products I can think of generally show on the packaging either what they're for or what they do. Why should tobacco products be exempt? There is nothing "dictatorial" about putting about displaying information on the packet which the individual can choose to take heed of or ignore.
Posted on
What about alcohol? Why don't they think about putting pictures of diseased livers, jaw cancer, brain cancer, suicides, murders, beatings and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.

Thank you.
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