Judge: Graphic Smoking Images Are Unconstitutional
Big Tobacco wins a round in court over proposed warnings
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 29, 2012 6:20 PM CST
This combination photo made from file images provided by the FDA shows two of nine cigarette warning labels from the government.   (AP Photo/U.S. Food and Drug Administration, File)

(Newser) – Tobacco companies can't be forced to put ultra-graphic images on cigarette packages and advertising to scare away smokers, a federal judge ruled today. The FDA requirement, which was supposed to go into effect later this year, violates the companies' free-speech rights, declared US District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, reports BusinessWeek. The feds are expected to appeal, adds Reuters.

“These mandatory graphic images violate the First Amendment by unconstitutionally compelling speech,” said Leon. "While the line between the constitutionally permissible dissemination of factual information and the impermissible expropriation of a company's advertising space for government advocacy can be frustratingly blurry, here the line seems quite clear."

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Showing 3 of 46 comments
Cat-Lover
Mar 1, 2012 8:24 AM CST
Just as Chris Cristi, governor of New Jersey, wants to put civil rights up to voters to decide the rights of others because he feels the people will portray themselves bigots, why don't we put prohibiting the growth, manufacture, distribution and sale of tobacco up for a vote? We know the vast majority of Americans will vote to outlaw tobacco use but, contrary to Christi's civil rights stand, the GOP official line will be to vote against outlawing tobacco since it creates job and the tobacco industry is a job creator. Then these same bastards will campaign against affordable health care so that American taxpayers will have to pay emergency room care for all the uninsured smokers.
Tology
Mar 1, 2012 4:53 AM CST
The pics were so phony looking they might just as well have been cartoons.
crafter67
Feb 29, 2012 10:45 PM CST
Yeah, I'm not a fan of big tobacco in the least, but forcing the company to show pictures? - then they should have to show people dying of liver failure on every bottle of alcohol, people dying of heart disease on fast food packaging, very pregnant women and/or ugly babies on condom wrappers...