Thursday, February 2, 2012

Judge continues to block graphic images on cigarette packs

Getting graphic labels on cigarette packages continues to be an uphill battle for the Obama administration, as a skeptical judge sided with cigarette makers who say "they can't be forced to spread the government's anti-smoking advocacy with 'massive shocking, gruesome warnings' on products they legally sell," reports The Associated Press.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon of Washington, D.C., has already decided that the cigarette makers will probably succeed in their lawsuit, because he has ordered the government to not enforce the requirement that the labels appear on cigarette packages next year.

The labels, approved by the Food and Drug Administration, "included color images of a man exhaling cigarette smoke through a tracheotomy hole in his throat; a plume of cigarette smoke enveloping an infant receiving a mother's kiss; a pair of diseased lungs next to a pair of healthy lungs; a diseased mouth afflicted with what appears to be cancerous lesions; a man breathing into an oxygen mask," among others, AP reports.

Leon has indicated he thinks the labels go overboard in their efforts to convey the dangers of cigarettes. He has ruled they are too large; they were intended to cover the top half of packs. "It sounds like they are headed to a place," he said Wednesday, "where you have to watch a 10-minute video before you can even buy a pack of cigarettes." (Read more)

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