FDA proposed cigarette warnings
The Food and Drug Administration unveiled new graphic health warnings for cigarette packs on Thursday, a decade after Congress instructed the agency to issue them and seven years after a court ruled that the images it initially chose violated the First Amendment.
The proposed warnings include, “tobacco smoke can harm your children” with an ill-looking child holding a nebulizer treatment to his face; “smoking reduces blood flow to the limbs, which can require amputation” that shows a pair of feet with amputated toes; and “smoking causes COPD, a lung disease that can be fatal” featuring a doctor holding a pair of diseased, darkened lungs.
The warning labels would cover the top half of the front and back of cigarette packs and at least 20% of the top of cigarette ads.
As part of the 2009 Tobacco Control Act, Congress mandated the FDA to issue graphic health warnings on cigarette packs “depicting the negative health consequences.” The agency selected nine images in 2011, including one of a man smoking through a tracheotomy hole in his heart and one with a man on an autopsy table with chest staples.
Five tobacco companies — R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard, Commonwealth Brands, Liggett Group and Santa Fe Natural — sued the FDA that year. A federal judge sided with the companies, saying the warnings violated the First Amendment. A federal appeals court affirmed the decision, saying the FDA had not provided “a shred of evidence” proving the labels would “directly advance its interest in reducing the number of Americans who smoke.”
However, a separate ruling upheld the FDA’s authority to require