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D.C. Circuit rules against graphic tobacco label requirements

FDA can’t “browbeat consumers” into not buying tobacco

Another win for Big Tobacco. The D.C. Circuit on Friday struck down Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations that would have required cigarette packages to feature graphic warning labels. The court, in a split 2-1 decision, ruled that the government failed to prove that the labels would lower smoking rates.

The D.C. Circuit called the labels, which feature the number of a quitting hotline alongside stomach-clenching images like rotting teeth, diseased lungs and even a corpse, “unabashed attempts to evoke emotion” that “browbeat consumers” into not buying tobacco products.

The tobacco companies, including Commonwealth Brands Inc., Liggett Group LLC and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co., claimed in court papers that complying with the FDA label requirements would cost them around $20 million. The regulations were initially set to go into effect in September, but now the legal industry is waiting to see if the Supreme Court will take up this issue.

Read more at Bloomberg Businessweek and the Wall Street Journal.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of graphic cigarette labels, see below:

NYC can’t force displays of graphic anti-smoking ads

D.C Circuit hears graphic tobacco label case

Judge says Big Tobacco’s free speech rights were violated

Graphic cigarette warning labels blocked

5 tobacco companies sue FDA over ad requirements

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