A federal judge on Monday blocked the Food and Drug Administration’s new mandate that packs, cartons, and advertisements for cigarettes come with large and graphic new warning labels.
The decision suspends a plan by the FDA to force tobacco companies to use one of nine graphic images of anti-smoking advertisements.
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“Even tobacco companies have constitutional rights, a federal district court in Washington, DC ruled Monday.
“The ruling is an important victory for anyone who has railed against living in the slavery imposed by a 24/7 Nanny State.
“A 2009 federal law required tobacco companies to place graphic images on cigarette packages depicting the ‘negative consequences’ of smoking. The FDA was charged with implementing this law, and it issued a rule in June 2011 requiring images of dead bodies on slabs in the mortuary, a woman weeping uncontrollably, and a premature baby in an incubator, among others, to be placed on the top half of a cigarette package.
“The law requires warning labels to be educational, but the government conceded the purpose of these images was to convince people not to smoke. The ability of these images to accomplish that purpose, the government admitted, was the only reason they were selected.
“The court held the First Amendment includes not only the right to free speech, but also ‘the right to refrain from speaking at all,’ which was violated by the federal law.
“The court enjoined the rule from going forward pending resolution of the case on its merits, which is years away.”
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