November 7, 2011
Today a new page was turned in the battle between tobacco companies and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), when a judge ordered a block on a requirement by the FDA that would force cigarette manufacturers to print graphic warning labels on packaging beginning as early as next year. According to the Associated Press, the block by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon will keep the graphic warning labels off cigarette packs until the matter is resolved, which could take years.
Nine images were selected by the FDA in June 2011 to be placed on cigarette packs along with health warnings. These images, from a pair of diseased lungs to a premature child in an incubator, depict the extreme health risks smoking poses. Judge Leon ruled that the images go beyond providing facts about smoking risks and come across more as anti-smoking advocacy–which crosses the line of the first amendment right to free speech.
Also, the judge claimed that the size of the labels, which would take over the majority of the packaging, acted as a "mini-billboard" for an "obvious anti-smoking agenda.”
The Connecticut Personal Injury Attorneys with Carter Mario Injury Lawyers would like your opinion. Could cigarette-warning labels reduce health hazards across the country, or is the federal government infringing too much on a personal choice? Tell us your opinion on our Facebook page.