Judge blocks disease pics on cigarette packs

posted at 1:55 pm on November 7, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

The nanny state lost a battle in federal court today.  A judge has blocked the implementation of a new warning label requirement from the Food and Drug Administration on cigarette packs that would have forced manufacturers to add graphic images of disease and death.  Judge Richard Leon ruled that the FDA was forcing manufacturers to publish advocacy rather than legitimate warnings, and that the industry’s lawsuit against the FSA has a high likelihood of success:

A judge on Monday blocked a federal requirement that would have begun forcing tobacco companies next year to put graphic images including dead and diseased smokers on their cigarette packages.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled that it’s likely the cigarette makers will succeed in a lawsuit to block the requirement. He stopped the requirement until the lawsuit is resolved, which could take years.

Leon found the nine graphic images approved by the Food and Drug Administration in June go beyond conveying the facts about the health risks of smoking or go beyond that into advocacy – a critical distinction in a case over free speech.

The packaging would have included color images of a man exhaling cigarette smoke through a tracheotomy hole in his throat; a plume of cigarette smoke enveloping an infant receiving a mother’s kiss; a pair of diseased lungs next to a pair of healthy lungs; a diseased mouth afflicted with what appears to be cancerous lesions; a man breathing into an oxygen mask; a cadaver on a table with post-autopsy chest staples; a woman weeping; a premature baby in an incubator; and a man wearing a T-shirt that features a “No Smoking” symbol and the words “I Quit”

“It is abundantly clear from viewing these images that the emotional response they were crafted to induce is calculated to provoke the viewer to quit, or never to start smoking – an objective wholly apart from disseminating purely factual and uncontroversial information,” Leon wrote in his 29-page opinion. He pointed out that at least some were altered photographs to evoke emotion.

Better Truth Through Photoshop!  That criticism might be too harsh, though.  It’s not as if the Obama administration wants to endorse lying to citizens in order to impose their agenda.  Oh, wait

I make no defense of cigarettes and the efforts by manufacturers to increase their addictiveness.  If you smoke cigarettes, stop; if you don’t, don’t start at all.  But unless the government wants to make them illegal, they do not have the authority to seize the property of the manufacturer to conduct advocacy instead of requiring a dispassionate warning of the dangers associated with the use of the product.  And in what has become an obvious and overwhelming hypocrisy, the government has no intention of outlawing cigarettes, because they make too much money off of cigarette sales.

The most amusing aspect of this fight has been the accuracy with which Christopher Buckley predicted this nanny-state intervention in his witty satire Thank You For Smoking. Instead of treating Americans as children, let’s have people make their own choices, and get the government out of the social-engineering industry.

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Now that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about, rolling back the nanny state!

FloatingRock on November 7, 2011 at 2:01 PM

If you smoke cigarettes, stop…

Keep your hands off my pie hole!

NotCoach on November 7, 2011 at 2:04 PM

And in what has become an obvious and overwhelming hypocrisy, the government has no intention of outlawing cigarettes, because they make too much money off of cigarette sales.

bingo!

ted c on November 7, 2011 at 2:06 PM

I’ll tell you what, if a simple face-shot of Jeneane Garafolo were added to the package with the caption “Smoke and this could be YOU!”, people would stop that instant.

Bishop on November 7, 2011 at 2:07 PM

We’d want you to quit so we don’t have to pay for your sorry carcass to get radiation for your lung cancer, but, if you do choose to smoke, pay your taxes and die quickly, mmkay?
/nanny state position

ted c on November 7, 2011 at 2:08 PM

The nanny state lost a battle in federal court today.

Curses… foiled again!

–DC beltway control freaks

UltimateBob on November 7, 2011 at 2:08 PM

OT:
just saw of little of that chick with GA…

PUHLEEZE

if feels and sounds like Gennifer Flowers ALL OVER AGAIN

cmsinaz on November 7, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Has any other legal product in this country ever been the target of the government like this?

I mean, it’s great that the Surgeon General issue statements about the harm cigarettes can do. It’s great to see the number of smokers go in decline decade after decade. But to allow a product to continue to be sold, while legislating to the hilt where you can use it in public, taxing it to the breaking point, and now graphic images on the packaging…I don’t get it.

JetBoy on November 7, 2011 at 2:15 PM

1. smoking is not for someone else to tell them what to do, which includes the government concerning privacy.
2. canada did this (may still be doing this) and it hasn’t made them stop.

upinak on November 7, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Either have the guts to outlaw cigarettes or shut up.

Cindy Munford on November 7, 2011 at 2:20 PM

I used to put pictures of dead camels, skull and crossbones, diseased lungs, etc. in my daughter’s cigarette packages so as to not-so-subtly discourage her from smoking. I stopped when I found out her friends were collecting the packages because they thought they were awesome.

*face palm*

Fallon on November 7, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Good. Last thing I want to see are those disgusting pictures everytime I step into Walgreens to buy a 12-pack.

Pablo Honey on November 7, 2011 at 2:26 PM

I always thought they should put a picture of someone’s fat butt on a package of Twinkies.

NeoKong on November 7, 2011 at 2:27 PM

All this would have done is cause the re-introduction or after-market cigarette cases.

Which woulda been kinda cool in a retro, noir kinda way…

catmman on November 7, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Instead of treating Americans as children, let’s have people make their own choices, and get the government out of the social-engineering industry.

What’s this? The hell you say. You can’t be serious.

SlaveDog on November 7, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Hey, let’s have some ObamaCare Warning Labels.

Warning: ØbamaCare can kill you

petefrt on November 7, 2011 at 2:30 PM

And in what has become an obvious and overwhelming hypocrisy, the government has no intention of outlawing cigarettes, because they make too much money off of cigarette sales.

Yeah. I’d like to see the number of federal and state programs that would cease to exist if they could no longer collect a tobacco tax. Wonder how many career politicians would give up their tax-funded jobs?

GarandFan on November 7, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Perhaps campaign posters for the Democratic National Socialist Committee should warn: may cause Communism and severe loss of freedom

With accompanying pictures of the progressive Soviet Union’s gulag archipelago.

Chip on November 7, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Has any other legal product in this country ever been the target of the government like this?

JetBoy on November 7, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Guns. Remember that attempt to sue the gun manufacturers out of business that Rudy Giuliani was part of?

FloatingRock on November 7, 2011 at 2:51 PM

I’ll tell you what, if a simple face-shot of Jeneane Garafolo were added to the package with the caption “Smoke and this could be YOU!”, people would stop that instant.

Bishop on November 7, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Now, Garafolo may not look really great, but she doesn’t really look bad either. For the effect you want I think you need to go nuclear: Helen Thomas.

jwolf on November 7, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Cigarette case manufacturers hardest hit.

DrAllecon on November 7, 2011 at 3:01 PM

No one on this site should be talking about Hypocritical actions of the nanny state when you still support prohibition of other intoxicants.

If you feel it should be the persons choice to smoke tobacco or drink booze then logically they have the right to choose to consume other intoxicants or harmful substances.

the_ancient on November 7, 2011 at 3:25 PM

they’re coming for your incandescent light bulbs next.

maineconservative on November 7, 2011 at 3:29 PM

DrAllecon on November 7, 2011 at 3:01 PM

LOL!!!

Cindy Munford on November 7, 2011 at 3:33 PM

I think they should put historical images of the victims of totalitarians countries on the cover of every new law or regulation they pass.

JellyToast on November 7, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Chewley’s Gum salesmen hardest hit.

thirtypundit on November 7, 2011 at 4:31 PM

“””””I’ll tell you what, if a simple face-shot of Jeneane Garafolo were added to the package with the caption “Smoke and this could be YOU!”, people would stop that instant.

Bishop on November 7, 2011 at 2:07 PM””””””

My chuckle for the day…good one Bishop!

JustJP on November 7, 2011 at 4:43 PM

They don’t need the photos – just print the one fact they seem to avoid putting on the cigarettes packs.
SMOKING is the #1 cause of impotence in men.

IlonaE on November 7, 2011 at 4:45 PM

What’s next? Putting pictures of morbidly obese people on candy wrappers?

Danny on November 7, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Has any other legal product in this country ever been the target of the government like this?

JetBoy on November 7, 2011 at 2:15 PM

If you consider the judicial branch part of government – then the answer is yes-abortion-but they won’t show those pictures either!

Don L on November 7, 2011 at 4:56 PM

Fine… can we pass a law to have pictures of the abortion process mandatory on the outside of every Planned Parenthood clinic?

princetrumpet on November 7, 2011 at 5:07 PM

Can we paste pictures of gulags beside the Democrat choices on our voting machines?

hillbillyjim on November 7, 2011 at 5:56 PM

I’ll tell you what, if a simple face-shot of Jeneane Garafolo were added to the package with the caption “Smoke and this could be YOU!”, people would stop that instant.

Bishop on November 7, 2011 at 2:07 PM

LOL

Dr. ZhivBlago on November 7, 2011 at 8:29 PM