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U.S. Abandons Effort to Place Graphic Labeling on Cigarettes
Date:3/21/2013

President Barack Obama. For the first time, that law gave the FDA significant control over tobacco products.

Responding to the court decision last August, Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a news release that "tobacco companies are fighting the graphic warnings precisely because they know such warnings are effective. The companies continue to spend billions of dollars to play down the health risks of smoking and glamorize tobacco use."

In an email sent this week to the AP, Floyd Abrams, a lawyers who represented Lorillard Tobacco Co. in the court challenge, said the Justice Department's decision came as no surprise. "The graphic warnings imposed by the FDA were constitutionally indefensible," he wrote.

In a statement released Tuesday, the FDA said it would "undertake research to support a new rulemaking consistent with the Tobacco Control Act," the AP said. There was no time frame set for the new revised labeling.

The nine original proposed images, designed to fill the top half of all cigarette packs, had stirred controversy since the concept first emerged in 2009.

One image shows a man's face and a lighted cigarette in his hand, with smoke escaping from a hole in his neck -- the result of a tracheotomy. The caption reads, "Cigarettes are addictive." Another image shows a mother holding a baby as smoke swirls about them, with the warning: "Tobacco smoke can harm your children."

A third image depicts a distraught woman with the caption: "Warning: Smoking causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers."

A fourth picture shows a mouth with smoked-stained teeth and an open sore on the lower lip. "Cigarettes cause cancer," the caption reads.

Smoking is the leading cause of early and preventable death in the United States, resulting in some 443,000 fatalities each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and costs almost $200 billion every year in m
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