Tobacco companies file lawsuit over graphic labels
COLUMBIA, S.C. (KABC) -- Four large U.S. tobacco companies sued the federal government over new graphic cigarette labels that include the sewn-up corpse of a smoker and pictures of diseased lungs.
The FDA has said the graphic labels serve as frank and honest warnings about the dangers of smoking and wants to make them mandatory on cigarette packs, cartons and advertising by next September.
But tobacco companies believe the labels violate free speech and want them stopped. They argue that the labels unfairly urge adults to shun their legal products and will cost millions to produce.
"Never before in the United States have producers of a lawful product been required to use their own packaging and advertising to convey an emotionally-charged government message urging adult consumers to shun their products," the companies wrote in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit said the images were manipulated to be especially emotional. The tobacco companies said the corpse photo is actually an actor with a fake scar, while the healthy lungs were sanitized to make the diseased organ look worse.
The FDA refused to comment on the lawsuit, saying the agency does not discuss pending litigation.
A federal judge upheld many parts of the law, but the companies are appealing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
health, fda, national news
- Car crashes into OC yard; 2 killed, 1 injured 46 min ago
- 6.9-magnitude earthquake hits NorCal coast 49 min ago
- 3 attacked by bees in La Canada Flintridge
- Searchers cannot find object from missing jet
- Stage collapses at OC high school; 25 injured
- Compton shootings leave 2 dead within hours
- Pedestrians fatally struck in Norwalk ID'd
- 2 SoCal hikers die amid record-breaking heat
- State oversight may tame California pot shops
- Car bomb attack kills at least 42 in Iraq
- abcnews: Skydiver collides with plane in Fla.
- Ukraine won't budge '1 centimeter' from land
- '300' sequel rules box office w/ $45.1M debut
- Photos: 'Revenge's Emily VanCamp: 15 Sexiest Looks