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

(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.

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“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." (Read more tobacco companies stories.)

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