Five tobacco companies have filed suit against the federal government, arguing the proposed new graphic warnings for cigarette packages infringe on the companies’ rights.
The FDA unveiled nine new warning labels earlier this summer, mandating that half of each cigarette pack display one of the images starting in September 2012.
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Lorillard Tobacco Co., Commonwealth Brands Inc., Liggett Group LLC and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company Inc. contend that the new labels are not just punative, but violate their right to free speech.
While the FDA will not comment on the pending litigation, Melva Fager Okun of N.C. Prevention Partners says the U.S. is finally catching up with anti-tobacco public health campaigns in other countries. And Okun believes the FDA will prevail in this legal challenge.
Okun recently appeared on News & Views to discuss the new warning labels and other anti-smoking efforts. To hear a portion of that interview, click below. To see the FDA anti-smoking labels that led to the lawsuit, click here.