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U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to New Cigarette Labeling
Date:4/22/2013

ry lawyers said that forcing companies to display such messages and images interfered with cigarette makers' First Amendment rights.

In its decision, the Washington, D.C., court said the federal government had not shown enough evidence that the revised labels would reduce smoking rates. The court sent the issue back to the FDA for further study.

As it stands now, "FDA will undertake research to support a new rulemaking consistent with the Tobacco Control Act," Haliski said. She added that, for the time being, "FDA will need to conduct more research and propose new rulemaking to be able to implement graphic health warning labels."

According to Haliski, there appears to be no set timetable for developing new guidelines for graphic labels. In fact, it could take months or years before the agency proposes new graphic package labels.

One anti-smoking group wants swifter action.

"This decision allows the FDA to move forward with developing new graphic cigarette warnings that comply with both the 2009 law and recent court rulings. The FDA should quickly do so," Susan Liss, executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement released Monday. "While the Sixth Circuit upheld the law's requirement for graphic warnings, a separate ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit blocked the specific warnings the FDA proposed."

The 2009 law requires graphic warnings covering the top half of the front and back of cigarette packs and 20 percent of cigarette ads, Liss said. "The Sixth Circuit [Cincinnati] ruling found that the required warnings 'are reasonably related to the government's interest in preventing consumer deception and are therefore constitutional.' "

"FDA is pleased with today's decision and that the agency's work can move forward to implement the Tobacco Control Act in a way that addresses this significant public health problem," the agency said in a st
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