Newspapers Slam Big Tobacco for Warning Label Lawsuit

August 29, 2011


Newspapers around the country have reached their own verdict on the latest tobacco companies' lawsuit challenging the new, graphic cigarette pack warning labels required under the 2009 law giving the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco.

The decision: Big Tobacco is guilty again.

From the New York to California, newspapers—who know a thing or two about the First Amendment—reject tobacco companies' claims that their constitutional right to free speech is violated by the law's requirement for stronger, bigger package warnings.

'The First Amendment was intended to protect free expression by unpopular minorities—not the right of a powerful industry to sell a deadly, addictive product,' the Star-Ledger of New Jersey writes.

The New York Times notes that the federal district court in Washington D.C., the venue now sought by tobacco companies who lost this very same argument over warning labels in a Kentucky federal court last year, has been 'a pioneer in exposing the history of deceitful and harmful behavior by the tobacco industry.' It urges the court to 'reject this latest effort to evade tobacco regulation that is needed to protect public health.'

In California, the Orange County Register HealthyLiving blog says: 'Big Tobacco is terrified that these mini-billboards will have more impact than their omnipresent advertising.'

The Toledo Blade in Ohio agrees: 'Cigarette makers fear the warning labels could discourage smokers from lighting up. Let’s hope so.'

And in Massachusetts, the' target='_blank' title='Patriot-Ledger of Quincy'>Patriot-Ledger of Quincy challenges the industry's argument that 'never before' have producers been forced to use their own packaging to urge consumers to shun their product.

'Well, that may be true,' the newspaper writes. 'But never before has the United States allowed a consumer product to remain on the market that, used as directed, will kill its user.'

See what the tobacco companies don’t want smokers to see: