Graphic cigarette warning label debate

The warning labels with images of rotten teeth and diseased lungs have been controversial since the beginning.


Last year, the Food & Drug Administration rolled nine new cigarette warning labels and ordered tobacco companies to place the labels on cigarette packs. The labels were set to begin rolling out this September.

But almost immediately after the warning labels were announced, cigarette companies filed a lawsuit to block the warning labels. Cigarette companies argued the labels violated its First Amendment rights.

In November, a U.S. District Court judged ruled to block the labels until the courts decide on the First Amendment case – something that could take years. The judge said in his decision that the companies were likely to win the lawsuit.

The FDA has since challenged that decision. And the attorneys general from 24 states, including Washington, have joined together and filed a brief announcing their support of the new labels.

The attorneys general argue the First Amendment does not prevent the government from requiring that “lethal and addictive products carry warning labels that effectively inform consumers of the risks those products entail.”

Check out the labels here.

What do you think of the warning labels? Do you think cigarette companies should be required to put the graphic images on their products?

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