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Appeals court approves graphic warnings on tobacco products

Posted April 2, 2012

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A federal appeals court on March 19 ruled constitutional the Food and Drug Administration’s enforcement of graphic warnings on cigarette packages. The decision conflicts with a district court’s ruling on the issue in February.

The FDA released the text and graphic health warnings in June 2011, saying tobacco companies should prepare to place them on all cigarette packs, cartons and advertisements beginning in September 2012. That implementation was delayed after the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia declared the warnings unconstitutional on Feb. 29. The Obama administration has appealed.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said ample evidence shows current warnings do not effectively inform consumers of the health risks of tobacco use. The FDA’s graphic warnings convey the health consequences of smoking so that consumers have truthful information as they make tobacco purchasing decisions, the court said.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/04/02/prbf0402.htm.

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