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Judge Blocks Use Of Graphic Warning Labels On Cigarette Packages

Filed under: Legal MattersBarack ObamaHealthAddictionSmoking

Tobacco labels

Boo! Such a bummer!

We were SO happy to hear about the mandatory graphic warning labels that the FDA imposed for all tobacco companies to display on cigarette packages.

Unfortunately, we're sad to report that the tobacco industry may have successfully blocked the government's efforts to visually depict how damaging their product really is.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon blocked the federal requirement because he felt the pictures were not accurate portrayals of the effects from smoking and instead were designed to exploit the facts, explaining:

"It is abundantly clear from viewing these images that the emotional response they were crafted to induce is calculated to provoke the viewer to quit, or never to start smoking – an objective wholly apart from disseminating purely factual and uncontroversial information."

The images depicting the harmful effects of smoking were to cover at least 20% of the package, but Judge Leon felt the labels would amount to a "mini-billboard" for the agency's "obvious anti-smoking agenda."

The strict requirement, originally expected to be implemented next year, has now been blocked until the tobacco industry's lawsuit is resolved.

Basically, don't expect to see the controversial labels that are used in 43 other countries anytime soon in the US.

Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, urged the Obama administration to appeal the ruling, saying:

"Studies around the world and evidence presented to the FDA have repeatedly shown that large, graphic warnings, like those adopted by the FDA, are most effective at informing consumers about the health risks of smoking, discouraging children and other nonsmokers from starting to smoke, and motivating smokers to quit. Because of that evidence, at least 43 other countries now require large, graphic cigarette warnings."

It's such a shame that corporate greed has once again won in court. While the tobacco industry filed the lawsuit against the FDA's labels in an effort to save profits, the courts forgot that the labels were created to save lives.

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