Monday, November 7, 2011

No Gross Cigarette Labels ... For Now

A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that the federal regulations requiring the grisly images on cigarette packages “go beyond conveying the facts about the health risks of smoking or go beyond that into advocacy – a critical distinction in a case over free speech,” the Associated Press reported.

“It is abundantly clear from viewing these images that the emotional response they were crafted to induce is calculated to provoke the viewer to quit, or never to start smoking – an objective wholly apart from disseminating purely factual and uncontroversial information,” the judge’s opinion said.

Anti-smoking folks are pressing the FDA and the Obama administration to appeal the judge’s temporary injunction against the gross cigarette labels, the AP reported.

Several months ago, I helpfully suggested that if the FDA were indeed successful in getting images of corpses, post-autopsy, smoke-blackened lungs and stomach-churning mouth sores onto cigarette packages, they should consider mandating graphic labels on the outside of motor vehicles depicting the grisly results of bad or drunk driving. When it comes to fatty products like cheese and butter, they could insist that manufacturers slap on photos of fat removed from bodies via liposuction or images of deceased overweight folks on gurneys to try to persuade people to eat right and exercise and avoid fat-filled grub. There could also be federally mandated graphic warning labels about the dangers of sexting on cell and smartphones bearing the image of Anthony Weiner in the Congressional gym.

But thank goodness that this federal judge has put the kibosh on this ridiculous, gross-out mandate business. That means our smartphones are safe from Weiner Twitter shots, at least for now.

Image credit: FDA/USA Today.

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