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FDA defends new cigarette warning labels

A hearing on tobacco companies’ free speech rights to take place Sept. 21

The FDA recently responded to complaints from U.S. tobacco companies over the new, graphic warning labels to accompany their cigarette packs.

The FDA defended its labels, saying they're an attempt to actualize the health risks for smokers while also backing its right to regulate commercial speech where it sees fit, Legal Times reported.

A group of tobacco companies filed suit in Washington last month, claiming their First Amendment right are violated by the new, graphic warning labels for cigarettes.

The new, federally mandated labels will span the top half of all cigarette packs and feature graphic images and explicit messages.

The U.S. is not the first country to institute these types of graphic warning labels. More than 40 other countries have introduced similar types of messages to consumers about the health risks associated with smoking. In fact, advertisements in other nations are seemingly more graphic, with some cigarette packages displaying images of decaying limbs and phallic, drooping cigarettes signifying erectile dysfunction.

A hearing on the companies’ free speech rights will take place in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Sept. 21.

Read more on the new warning labels in the Wall Street Journal

Danielle Feinstein

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