Graphic cigarette labels blocked by judge
A federal judge ruled that graphic warnings on cigarette packs could violate the First Amendment rights of tobacco companies. The proposed labels would highlight the consequences of smoking and secondhand smoke - showing children with oxygen masks, rotten teeth and smoker’s lungs. In blocking FDA rules requiring the labels starting next year, the U.S. District Court judge said the five tobacco companies involved in a lawsuit had demonstrated the negative impact the labels would have on their companies. The FDA says reducing the number of smokers would save lives and millions in health costs.
Class discussion: Should the government require warning labels on cigarettes? Is there a limit on how far warnings should go? Who should decide? Find examples where the government requires warnings or other information on products other than cigarettes. Do label requirements help protect consumers? Would graphic warnings about tobacco, alcohol or other drugs affect your choices? The U.S Supreme Court has ruled that companies have the same right to free speech as individual citizens. Do you agree? Does free speech allow companies to say anything they want and only what they want? Can you say anything you want?
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