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Update on Ruling Against New Cigarette Warnings

Monday, November 07, 2011  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
Dear Colleagues,

Unfortunately, there is bad news today related to the tobacco industry’s lawsuit against FDA’s new graphic health warnings. District Judge Leon has blocked the FDA’s requirement to have the new graphic health warnings appear on cigarette packages by next September; according to the Judge, the warnings should not appear unless the tobacco industry loses its lawsuit. The lawsuit, which raises questions about the Constitutionality of the warning labels, is likely to take at least a few years to wind its way through the courts towards resolution.

Although we had hoped for a more positive ruling from Judge Leon on this issue, it can be appealed by the government. NAQC will join with other tobacco control organizations to encourage the Obama Administration to appeal today’s ruling. In the meantime, please remember that science and the experience of nearly 20 countries that already have graphic health warnings are on our side. We will update you as more information becomes available.

Please see the article below.

Judge blocks graphic images on cigarette packages
Jump to full article: Associated Press (AP), 2011-11-07

Author: NEDRA PICKLER; Associated Press

Intro: A judge on Monday blocked a federal requirement that would have begun forcing tobacco companies next year to put graphic images on their cigarette packages to show the dangers of smoking.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled that it's likely the cigarette makers will succeed in a lawsuit claiming the images violate the free speech amendment to the Constitution. He stopped the requirement until the lawsuit is resolved, which could take years.
Leon held a hearing on the case in September and questioned the Justice Department about whether the nine graphic images approved by the Food and Drug Administration in June convey just the facts about the health risks of smoking or go beyond that into advocacy - a critical distinction in a case over free speech.
The images include a cloud of cigarette smoke within inches of a baby's face

Court Opinion: https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2011cv1482-38

Regards,

Linda A. Bailey, JD, MHS
President and CEO

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