Five US tobacco manufacturers have sued the national government over the new rules regarding the graphic warnings to be placed on the packaging and advertising of the products to portray the adverse effects of smoking by September 2012.
The five tobacco manufacturers that include RJ Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard Tobacco, Commonwealth Brands, Liggett Group and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco have called the government’s proposal as contravene on freedom of speech.
The U. S. Food and Drug Administration has asked for the graphic health warnings on the cigarette packets.
The lawyer of these cigarette makers, Floyd Abrams, stated, "The government can require warnings which are straightforward and essentially uncontroversial, but they can't require a cigarette pack to serve as a mini-billboard for the government's anti-smoking campaign".
The lawyer added that the government’s proposal violates the constitutional right to free speech as it has been asking these tobacco companies to promote the anti-smoking message.
R. J. Reynolds Executive Vice President and General Counsel Martin L. Holton-III stated that graphic warnings proposed by the FDA include cartoon images and controversial photographs that will attract the emotional response of the viewers.
Meanwhile, FDA has not responded to the lawsuit filed by these five major companies.