Monday, November 7, 2011

Graphic Pictures on Cigarette Labels Banned...For Now

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in its wisdom and aching desire to rid the nation of cigarette smoke, had issued new guidelines for warnings required on cigarette packages and advertisement, set to go into effect September 2012. The guidelines require the inclusion of graphic images on packaging and advertising material of the effects of smoking, including a body in the morgue, a mouth with cancer and a man with a tracheotomy.

I applaud the underlying goals of the graphic image warnings: to keep kids from smoking and encouraging smokers to quit. I think the method chosen to do this is inappropriate. Today, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon agreed, blocking the measure from going into action until a lawsuit brought by tobacco makers can be heard.

Tobacco companies have filed a lawsuit against the requirement for graphic images based on the First Amendment's right to free speech.

Imagine if every bottle, can or pitcher of alcohol contained graphic pictures, such as mangled cars and bodies. Would Twinkies and other junk food soon contain pictures of obese people, clogged arteries and fatty livers?

Whatever your stance is on tobacco smoking, how do you feel about the use of graphic images on packaging?

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