Product Liability

Tobacco industry files lawsuit, hopes to delay launch of graphic ads

The tobacco industry has filed a lawsuit against the federal government hoping to prevent the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from making them put large, graphic warnings on packs of cigarettes. The new warnings are to be prominently placed on cigarette packages beginning Oct. 22, 2012. While the tobacco industry’s lawsuit isn’t likely to stand up in court, it could delay by years when the new warnings go into effect.

The new labels show corpses and smokers with tracheotomy scars in their necks with messages like, “smoking will kill you.” The labels are designed to scare consumers into quitting and prevent children and teenagers from smoking in the first place by giving honest and powerful depictions of the health risks associated with smoking.

The warnings will cover half of the front and half of the back of each pack. Warnings also will cover 20 percent of large cigarette ads. The warnings will also include “1-800-QUIT-NOW,” a number that smokers can call for help quitting. Any cigarette makers who do not comply with the orders will not be allowed to sell their products in the United States.

The new warnings replace the small, more discreet warnings that were first placed on cigarette packs 25 years ago.

While the lawsuit is not expected to quash the graphic labels, it will more than likely move back the program’s launch date. This delay will save the tobacco industry millions in lost sales and increased packaging costs, experts say.

Source: The Daily News