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Court Rules In Favor Of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco In Graphic Warnings Lawsuit

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, an indirect subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc. (RAI: Quote), announced that the U.S. Federal District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and other manufacturers in graphic warnings lawsuit.

The Judge held unconstitutional a regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that would have forced cigarette makers to place nine graphic health warnings on the top half of the front and back of all cigarette packages, and the top fifth of all advertising.

The company said the Court held that the proposed warnings violated the First Amendment by forcing the manufacturers to distribute an anti-smoking policy message.

Judge Leon noted that the Government can require companies to make "purely factual and uncontroversial" disclosures about the risks of their products, but stated that the graphic warnings crossed into unconstitutional territory.

The company note that the Court cited data included in FDA's regulation that showed the graphic warnings would have little to no effect in reducing tobacco use. In particular, FDA's analysis of the regulation estimated that the warnings would likely cause no statistically significant change in U.S. smoking rates.

The Court also noted that the chief expert report relied on by FDA conceded that the goal of such graphic warnings "is not to promote informed choice but rather to discourage consumption of tobacco products."

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by RTT Staff Writer

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