Judge Blocks Graphic Images on Cigarette Boxes

A federal law was passed to require cigarette makers to put graphic images on their packaging to keep people from smoking. There were nine images that tobacco companies were supposed to slap on their boxes. The pictures included a shot of a sewn up corpse and a man on oxygen. Now, a judge has said these images  violate free speech and temporarily blocked the requirement.

Tobacco companies continue to fight

The ruling is already being appealed. According to a USA Today article, “Some of the largest U.S. tobacco companies, including R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Lorillard Tobacco Co., had questioned the constitutionality of the labels, saying the warnings don’t simply convey facts to inform people’s decision whether to smoke but instead force the cigarette makers to display government anti-smoking advocacy more prominently than their own branding.”

Educating the public

The Food and Drug Administration has said the images are an attempt to educate more people about the dangers of cigarette smoke and encourage people to quit smoking.

The habit can cause a variety of moderate to severe health problems including cancers and emphysema.

Smokers weigh in

For Angela Davies, the pictures won’t make much of a difference. “I understand what they are trying to do. They are trying to scare me away from smoking, but the truth is no picture is going to do that.”

Davies believe the decision to quit smoking is a personal one, not one that can be prompted by an image, no matter how graphic.

“I know I should quit, but I won’t,” she said bluntly. “I’ve smoked for 20 years and at this point I feel like I have already done the damage so why stop now?”

Others, like Jeana Thompson believe the images will help. “It certainly can’t hurt,” the smoker said. “Who knows? Maybe if I see enough of those pictures I will want to quit.”

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