Judge Blocks Government Rule To Place Graphic Images On Cigarette Packages
The FDA recently passed a rule that tobacco companies must begin including graphic images related to the health dangers of smoking on packs and cartons of cigarettes. A judge in Washington has ruled that law to be a violation of free speech.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington ruled that the federal mandate to put the images, which include a sewn-up corpse of a smoker and a picture of diseased lungs, on cigarette packs violates the free speech amendment to the Constitution.
He had temporarily blocked the requirement in November, saying it was likely cigarette makers will succeed in a lawsuit, which could take years to resolve. That decision already is being appealed by the government.
In his ruling Wednesday, Leon wrote that the graphic images “were neither designed to protect the consumer from confusion or deception, nor to increase consumer awareness of smoking risks; rather, they were crafted to evoke a strong emotional response calculated to provoke the viewer to quit or never start smoking.”
“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,” Leon wrote.
It nice to see a judge, for once concerned with our Constitutional rights. Even if it helps big tobacco.