Tobacco Companies Go to Court to Evade Regulation by FDA

Announcement by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Lorillard Inc. and
other tobacco manufacturers that they have filed suit to overturn portions of
the recently passed FDA tobacco legislation is not unexpected. The lawsuit,
filed in the federal court in Bowling Green, Kentucky, seeks to overturn
portions the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act which deal with
advertising, marketing and labeling of tobacco products.

The tobacco companies have challenged language in the bill that would compel
them to scientifically justify claims of “reduced risk” for any tobacco
product. They are also challenging the requirement for larger graphic warning
labels on cigarette packs, as well as restrictions on colorful advertising
which impacts children, advertising within 1000 feet of playgrounds or schools
and numerous other marketing and advertising restrictions. In challenging
these restrictions in the FDA tobacco legislation, R.J. Reynolds and the
others are asking a federal court to allow them to continue to employ the same
irresponsible and deadly marketing techniques which have addicted generations
of American children and caused an epidemic of disease, death and heartbreak
for American families.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, signed into law on June
22, 2009 by President Obama, is carefully crafted and consistent with the
First Amendment. The advertising and marketing restrictions in the bill, first
introduced in 1996 as the FDA Tobacco Rule, have been reviewed and cleared by
the U.S. Department of Justice. The restrictions have been carefully developed
to satisfy constitutional requirements. They are supported by recent findings
by the Institute of Medicine, the President’s Cancer Panel and The U.S.
District Court of the District of Columbia, and the National Cancer Institute.

The lawsuit filed today is simply more proof that the tobacco industry is far
more interested in its bottom line than it is in doing anything meaningful to
stop the cycle of addiction and disease that comes from tobacco use. The FDA
tobacco bill, when fully implemented, will save lives. We hope the federal
court will quickly and decisively reject the latest attempt by Big Tobacco to
circumvent the law, and allow the FDA to get on with its role in putting an
end to the deceptive and dangerous tobacco marketing practices which have
taken such a terrible toll on this nation’s health.

SOURCE: Sept. 1 2009 Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Joel Spivak of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, +1-202-296-5469

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