FDA Cigarette Label Mandate Ruled First Amendment Violation

FDA “failed to present any data” showing that the proposed graphic warnings “will accomplish the agency’s stated objective of reducing smoking rates,”  says U.S. Circuit Judge.

Tobacco companies won a challenge to U.S. rules requiring that cigarette packaging and advertisements display graphic images, Businessweek reported.

Commonwealth Brands Inc., Liggett Group LLC and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. sued the FDA last year, saying the mandate for graphic cigarette packages, cartons and advertising violated the First Amendment.

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington today ruled that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations mandating visual-image warnings of smoking’s health risks violate the tobacco companies’ free speech rights.

FDA “failed to present any data” showing that the proposed graphic warnings “will accomplish the agency’s stated objective of reducing smoking rates,” U.S. Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote in her majority opinion.“The First Amendment requires the government not only to state a substantial interest justifying a regulation on commercial speech, but also to show that its regulation directly advances that goal,” she said in a 31-page opinion.

 

 

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