Administration continues to push for graphic warning labels on cigarette packages.
Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration appealed the February 29, 2012 decision issued by Federal District Court Judge Richard Leon which held that the FDA’s new graphic images and text warnings for cigarette packaging and cigarette advertisements violate free speech protections under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. A Notice of Appeal was filed by the FDA in the U.S. District Court in Washington,DC, according to the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO).
As previously reported by NATO, Judge Leon’s February 29th ruling stated that the FDA’s graphic images and text statements did not constitute factual or uncontroversial information and were designed to change people’s behavior rather than give consumers information on which to make an informed decision about smoking. According to Judge Leon, this constitutes compelled speech and crossed the line “between the constitutionally permissible dissemination of factual information and the impermissible expropriation of a company’s advertising space for Government advocacy.”
The FDA previously appealed Judge Leon’s November 7, 2011ruling that imposed a temporary injunction on the enforcement of the graphic image and text statement health warnings. That appeal, according to NATO, is scheduled for oral argument before a three judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals next month on April 10. It is not known at this time whether the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will consolidate both of these appeals and hear arguments on the merits of the case based on Judge Leon’s February 29th ruling.