Tag Archives: free speech

Injunction Made in Lawsuit Fighting FDA Cigarette Warnings

Five tobacco manufacturers filed a lawsuit August 2011 against the FDA over the agency’s requirement that all cigarette packages carry a graphic warning label depicting the dangers of smoking.

By September 2012 the FDA requires all packaging to have a warning label. The main argument in the lawsuit was that this requirement threatened the constitutional rights of the tobacco manufacturers.

On November 8, 2011 U.S. District Attorney Judge Richard Leon granted an injunction on behalf of the tobacco manufacturers.

Big Tobacco Win Injunction

Judge Leon suspended the FDA’s requirements until the lawsuit is resolved. Therefore, the FDA cannot require tobacco manufacturers to include one of the nine proposed graphic warnings on cigarette packaging. Judge Leon noted that forcing the companies to do so violates their 1st Amendment rights of free speech.

Graphic FDA WarningAdditionally, the images proposed by the FDA went beyond portraying fact, and appear to be a form of advocacy as they carry a powerful emotional component. Judge Leon wrote in his ruling:

It is abundantly clear from viewing these images that the emotional response they were crafted to induce is calculated to provoke the viewer to quit, or never to start smoking – an objective wholly apart from disseminating purely factual and uncontroversial information.

The five tobacco manufacturers involved are R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard Tobacco Co., Commonwealth Brands Inc., Ligget Group LLC, and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. Inc. The lawsuit is expected to take years to resolve.

Big 5 Tobacco File Lawsuit to Fight New Warning Labels

On September 22, 2012, all cigarette packaging and advertising must display one of the FDAs 9 pre-approved graphic and text health warnings.

These labels are designed to discourage youths from smoking and to provide greater appeal for quitting to current smokers.

However, on September 21, 2011 a hearing was held in U.S. Federal District Court regarding the constitutionality of these warnings.

Big Tobacco Files Lawsuit

Five major tobacco manufacturers filed a lawsuit against the FDA on August 16, 2011 in hopes of achieving an injunction against the mandatory implementation of graphic and text warnings on cigarette packages and advertisements.

The tobacco manufacturing companies involved with this lawsuit are:

  • R.J. Reynolds
  • Lorillard Tobacco Co.
  • Commonwealth Brands Inc.
  • Ligget Group LLC
  • Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. Inc.

New Cigarette Package Warning LabelsThe tobacco companies’ lawsuit against the FDA was filed on the grounds that the mandatory text and graphic warnings infringed on the constitutional free speech of the tobacco manufacturers. They have asked that the FDAs mandatory implementation be dismissed, and that a new set of warnings that do not threaten their constitutional right be developed. Following this, a new fifteen month waiting period will be set before the new warnings become effective.

The FDA Taken to Court . . . Again

In August 2009, a similar lawsuit was filed on behalf of Discount Tobacco City & Lottery Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Conwood Co. LLC, Commonwealth Brands Inc., Lorillard Tobacco Co., and National Tobacco Co. The purpose was to have it declared the FDAs proposed graphic and text warnings were unconstitutional.

The judge dismissed the suit, and an appeal was filed. A decision is still pending from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on this case.

Tobacco Manufacturers Argue Warnings Are Unconstitutional

What’s at issue with the tobacco manufacturers is whether or not the FDAs nine warnings portray actual health risks as a result from smoking, or whether or not they stem more from an advocacy perspective.

Tobacco use accounts for more than one in five deaths. Smoking remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in America.

Judge Richard Leon’s decision on the injunction is expected by the end of October.

Reference: http://www.csdecisions.com/2011/09/22/tobacco-companies-fight-warning-labels/