US Tobacco Firms: New Government Warning Labels ‘Unconstitutional’
In line with the nation's campaign on smoking cessation, four large tobacco companies have sued the FDA over its new graphic warning labels.
Four large US tobacco firms are suing the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its newly-released smoking warning labels, which should be implemented in all cigarette packaging by September 22, 2012. The complaint is in part about the ‘unconstitutional’ requirements imposed by the FDA, including the graphic images that are to be posted on 50% of cigarette packaging in the US.
The FDA has released nine new government warning labels, which include images, text warnings, as well as a toll-free number to call for quitting smoking. Some of the pictures that will soon be seen on cigarette packs feature a man with a hole in his throat, a man with his chest sewn in stitches, and lungs with decayed tissue. All of these are part of the ongoing FDA anti-smoking campaign that has been in action since 2009.
The four companies, Lorillard, Inc., RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co., Commonwealth Brands, Inc., and Liggett Group LLC, stated in their lawsuit,
Never before in the United States have producers of a lawful product been required to use their own packaging and advertising to convey an emotionally charged government message urging adult consumers to shun their products.
To date, the FDA has not commented on the lawsuit.