• May 26, 2024

Warnings Don’t Violate First Amendment: Court

 Warnings Don’t Violate First Amendment: Court

Image: zimmytws

Image: zimmytws

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal requirement for cigarette packs and advertising include graphic images of the effects of smoking, including images of smoke-damaged lungs and blackened feet, does not violate the First Amendment of the Constitution, reports AP News.

The ruling came from a three-judge panel, consisting of Jerry Smith, Jennifer Walker Elrod and James Graves, that also kept alive a tobacco industry challenge of the rule, stating that a lower court should review whether the rule was adopted in accordance with the federal Administrative Procedure Act, which governs the development of regulations.

The panel rejected the argument from the tobacco industry that the rule violates free speech rights and that the requirement overcomes branding and messaging on packages and advertisements due to the size of the images and lettering.

This latest ruling overturns a lower court order from a Texas federal district court, which ruled that the requirements violate the First Amendment.

“We disagree,” Smith wrote for the 5th Circuit panel. “The warnings are both factual and uncontroversial.”

The U.S. is among about 120 countries globally that have adopted larger graphic health warnings. Studies from other countries suggest that the image-based labels are more effective than text warnings.