Court Puts Graphic Cigarette Warning Labels on Hold

August 25, 2012
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Courts disagree on graphic cigarette warning label requirements.

As TeenJury reported in March, the Food and Drug Administration instituted a new requirement for cigarette manufacturers to place graphic warning labels on their packaging.  A U.S. Court of Appeals had ruled in favor of the F.D.A. stating that such rules do not restrict cigarette companies free speech.  But yesterday, a three judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C, ruled 2-1 that the cigarette companies do not have to comply with the F.D.A.’s labeling rules.  They stated that the FDA had not provided evidence that the warning labels work.  Furthermore, while the FDA could require cigarette manufacturers to fully disclose risks to consumers, they should not be required to act in ways that are clearly against their own business interests.  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has said that smoking kills 443,000 Americans each year and costs the U.S. economy $200 billion annually in health costs and lost productivity.  Interestingly, last week a similar case was heard in Australia in which laws requiring similar warning labels were upheld.  Many expect this issue to eventually be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

What do you think?

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