A Victory for Public Health Against Big Tobacco

Image of the no smoking sign with the words A Landmark Ruling over the top and Schlesinger Law Offices logo below

The Landmark Ruling

In a noteworthy victory for consumer safety and public health, a federal appeals court has upheld the requirement for graphic warnings on cigarette packs and advertisements. This decision from March of 2024 was issued by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and affirms the constitutionality of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 2020 rule that mandates stark visual warnings. The images, which depict examples of physical damage caused by smoking, were ruled by the court as “factual and uncontroversial” while aligning with First Amendment rights.

The case, centered on the tobacco industry’s challenge of the FDA’s rule, has been closely watched for its implications on public health and consumer awareness. Tobacco giants like RJ Reynolds, ITG Brands, and Liggett argued that the graphic warnings infringed on their free speech rights, claiming the images misrepresented or exaggerated the harms of smoking. However, the appellate court decisively refuted these claims, emphasizing that the graphic warnings serve to convey critical facts about smoking’s health risks and are essential for promoting greater public awareness.

Legal and Consumer Implications

This ruling is pivotal in the long-standing effort to enhance the effectiveness of smoking warnings. The FDA’s rule, mandates that these warnings cover the top 50% of cigarette packs and 20% of advertisements and feature graphic images such as amputated toes, stunted fetal growth, and cancer-related complications to illustrate the dire health risks associated with smoking.

For consumers, this development is a significant step towards reinforcing the dangers of smoking in a more impactful and undeniable manner. The updated warnings aim to reduce smoking rates and prevent the confusion about the health risks of using tobacco caused by the deceptive advertising of the tobacco industry. With the United States falling short of the global standard in tobacco warning practices, this judicial ruling is a crucial step forward in combatting the tobacco epidemic that continues to claim over 480,000 American lives annually.


Schlesinger Law Offices: Champions in the Fight Against Big Tobacco

At Schlesinger Law Offices, we are overjoyed about this ruling. We have been a stalwart advocate for victims of smoking-related illnesses for more than 30 years. Our firm has consistently challenged the tobacco giants, holding them accountable for the harm they inflict on consumers. We are dedicated to protecting public health and consumer rights, using our legal experience to ensure that the tobacco industry is held to rigorous standards of accountability and transparency. Our commitment to fighting for justice and compensation for our clients is unwavering, as we navigate the complex legal landscape surrounding tobacco litigation. Schlesinger Law Offices hopes that the graphic warnings decrease the number of people addicted to tobacco products.