Federal Judge Blocks Graphic Warnings on Cigarette Packs

On November 7, a federal judge blocked implementation of a law that would have mandated tobacco companies to include on cigarette packages graphic pictures and messages showing the dangers of smoking. In his preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon said the tobacco companies had shown a substantial likelihood of success, and that allowing the labeling requirements to proceed would cause them to “suffer irreparable harm.” He further said that the public’s “interest in the protection of its First Amendment rights against unconstitutionally compelled speech would be furthered.” According to CNN, Richard Daynard, a professor at Northeastern University Law School and head of the Tobacco Products Liability Project, said the case may not be resolved for years, and the matter is an urgent one. “Even a relatively modest percentage improvement or a percentage reduction in initiation or continued use will potentially save tens of thousands of lives per year,” he said.