Tag Archives: fda

Big Tobacco Won Their Lawsuit Against New FDA Graphic Warning Labels

Back in June of 2011, the FDA announced new warning labels for cigarettes that were pretty gruesome on purpose, to shock people into not buying cigarettes. In August, five tobacco companies sued the government saying that the rule violated their right to free speech because it was forcing them to advertise against themselves. Yesterday, the judge in question ruled for the tobacco companies saying that the law did violate their free speech, that the graphic warnings were more shocking than text warnings, and that they weren’t based in fact:

Although an interest in informing or educating the public about the dangers of smoking might be compelling, an interest in simply advocating that the public not purchase a legal product is not.

One of the proposed new warning labels


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Big Tobacco Is Suing The FDA

After years of being sued by pretty much everyone under the sun, Big Tobacco is doing the suing now. About two months ago, the FDA announced it was upgrading its warning labels on cigarettes from the textual Surgeon General’s warning to graphical ones that show all kinds of nasty pictures designed to induce so much vomiting that people will not be able to even look at a pack of cigarettes. Surprisingly, the tobacco companies don’t like this idea. What’s more, they’re saying this is the straw that broke the camel’s back, and that they never agreed to even the Surgeon General’s warning, they just didn’t fight it when it came into being 45 years ago. The new rules, they argue, seriously cross the line because it amounts to the government forcing the makers of a legal product to advertise against itself, which should be a violation of their right to free speech because it forces them to say something they don’t want to say.

One of the new warning labels


Philip-Morris, the largest cigarette company (they make Marlboros, Parliaments, Basics, Virginia Slims and a bunch of others), is surprisingly not part of the suit. But five other companies are, including R.J. Reynolds, who is the second-largest one (they make Camels, Winstons, American Spirits, and others). Their lawyer had this to say about the law suit:

Rather than inform and educate, the graphic warnings include nonfactual cartoon images and controversial photographs that have been technologically manipulated to maximize an emotional response from viewers, essentially turning our cigarette packs into mini-billboards for the government’s anti-smoking message.

Update, 1 March 2012: Big Tobacco won their lawsuit.

Via The LA Times