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Friday, August 24, 2012

Do Graphic Cigarette Warning Labels Work? Appeals Court Is Not Convinced

English: from www.burningwell.org http://www.b...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Do graphic cigarette warning labels work?  Some countries believe they do and these countries have passed laws to make cigarette manufacturers place such labels on cigarette packages to encourage smokers to quit and discourage others from starting. We have known for a long time that that the nicotine found in cigarettes is addictive. It is an unhealthy habit both for the smoker and those exposed to second hand smoke. In fact cigarette smoking is a deadly habit. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC)website: "Each year, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and another 8.6 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking."

In 2009 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was granted the authority, under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, to regulate tobacco products and to force cigarette makers to cover half of all cigarette packs (as well as 20% of other advertisements) with one of nine graphic warning labels, which would be selected the FDA.  You can see FDA proposed labels here (warning: these are graphic).

Five cigarette companies decided to challenge the proposed rules set forth by the FDA. Today a U.S. appeals court ruled (2-1 decision) in favor of the cigarette companies saying:

'"This case raises novel questions about the scope of the government's authority to force the manufacturer of a product to go beyond making purely factual and accurate commercial disclosures and undermine its own economic interest -- in this case, by making 'every single pack of cigarettes in the country mini billboard' for the government's anti-smoking message," wrote Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The FDA "has not provided a shred of evidence" showing that the graphic labels would reduce smoking.'
The next stop will undoubtedly be the Supreme Court. In the meantime, other countries have passed laws to require cigarette manufacturers to use graphic warning labels. These countries include Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Chile, Uruguay, and most recently Australia.

When considering addiction, many take the stance that smoking is not as dangerous or deadly as other substances. Seeking treatment for any addiction can be the first step, working a program of recovery is the next step towards health and long term recovery.

We will continue to follow this court battle...and perhaps the FDA will produce the so-called missing shred of evidence.
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1 comment:

  1. This case raises novel questions about the scope of the Electronic Cigarette government's authority to force the manufacturer of a product to go beyond making purely factual.


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