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Victory For Tobacco & Free Speech In US Appeals Court

 Today, a US Appeals court struck down a law which would have forced tobacco companies to put extreme photos on packs of cigarettes.

The court found today that this labeling requirement by the FDA violated corporate speech rights.  The court’s 2-1 decision is counter to another appeals court’s ruling in a similar case earlier this year, which could set the stage for a showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the decision, Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit wrote:

“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.”

Brown added that the FDA “has not provided a shred of evidence” to prove that these graphic on cigarette labels would reduce smoking.

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