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Originally established for times when I needed more than 140 characters to finish a thought on marketing or media.

Update: Federal court upholds tobacco warning labels

Federal requirements for graphic warnings on cigarette packaging do not violate tobacco companies’ free speech rights, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. The decision by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, located in Cincinnati, contrasts last month’s ruling by Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In his ruling, Leon sided with the tobacco companies that argued the gory labels compel speech violated the First Amendment protections to refrain from speaking.

The grisly warning labels, which feature such images as diseased gums and a body on an autopsy table, are at the centers of two legal disputes. As The Wall Street Journal points out, the Sixth Circuit’s ruling focuses on the overall reach of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gives the FDA power to regulate tobacco and nicotine, including authority over the industry’s marketing and advertising efforts. The D.C. case focuses on the graphic images, which include diseased lungs; a man exhaling smoke through a tracheotomy hole; a baby surrounded by smoked being kissed by its mother; a man using an oxygen mask; a crying woman; and a man wearing a T-shirt with a “no smoking” symbol and the words “I QUIT.”

The plaintiffs, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard Inc., and other tobacco companies, have appealed the Sixth Circuit’s ruling to federal district court. Court watchers have said the cases will eventually go to the Supreme Court.

EARLIER: FDA releases grisly images for cigarette packages


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Author: Jacqui Barrineau

Jacqui Barrineau is a writer and editor who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., with husband Trey, a Shetland Sheepdog and two unhelpful-but-funny cats. Her work has appeared in "So to Speak" and "Calliope," and she's a regular contributor to the flash-fiction sites Paragraph Planet and Doorknobs & Bodypaint. Once upon a time, she was the audience engagement editor at USA Today. Now she does other fun things that involve advertising, marketing and social media. The views expressed here and in other outlets are hers, not her clients'. Outside of work, she's proud to serve on the Northern Virginia Community College Marketing Advisory Committee. As a committee member, she joins industry leaders in lending their knowledge and expertise to ensure the college's Marketing curriculum is relevant and responsive to the needs of the students and the surrounding business communities.

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