The labels are a part of the requirements of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, signed into law in 2009 by President Barack Obama. For the first time, the law gave the FDA significant control over tobacco products.
The FDA has said it hopes these new warnings would have a "significant public health impact by decreasing the number of smokers, resulting in lives saved, increased life expectancy, and improved health status."
"President Obama is committed to protecting our nation's children and the American people from the dangers of tobacco use. These labels are frank, honest and powerful depictions of the health risks of smoking and they will help," U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a news release issued in June. "These labels will encourage smokers to quit, and prevent children from smoking. President Obama wants to make tobacco-related death and disease part of the nation's past, and not our future."
Responding to Monday's legal decision, Legacy, the nation's largest nonprofit group devoted to tobacco use prevention and cessation, issued a news release that said:
"In his ruling, Judge Leon maintained that some of the images were 'unquestionably designed to evoke emotion,' and the images were crafted to 'provoke the viewer to quit, or never to start smoking.'
"We believe that, too, is precisely the point of these images: dying from a tobacco-related disease is never pretty, or pleasant or comfortable. The images chosen by the FDA are realistic, accurate depictions of the terrible toll tobacco use takes on the body."
"Evidence shows that more extensive, visual graphic warning labels such as those required by FDA can play an important role in educating consumers about the dangers of smoking. Research conducted in countries that have implemented graphic warnings, such as Canada and Australia, has found that many smokers credit the
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